Paying for medical cannabis, in general, is still a major issue, no matter where or who you are. Why bitcoin or other digital coins are not the solution.
There are also two aspects to this problem, particularly for patients. The first is paying for medical cannabis in the first place. The second is being able to afford it at all. For now, both banking services and insurance coverage are off the table in the United States because of the Schedule I classification of cannabis. In other places, patients still struggle with the second issue.
Most americans, for example, cannot pay for medical cannabis using bank or credit cards. Germans can pay with their bank cards for medical cannabis at pharmacies. The problem is that at the moment prescription costs are running at about $2,000 a month. And while Canadians can both pay and order online, as well as get home delivery direct from licensed producers, cost is still a huge issue in a world where insurance coverage is problematic.
While some U.S. dispensaries and legal CBD businesses are finding creative ways to establish bank accounts with those institutions willing to work with them, this is not a benefit that remits to patients. In fact, quite the opposite. Banking fees for dispensaries who can get banking services sometimes run in the several thousands of dollars a month. These costs are obviously passed on to clients.
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This in turn has multiple knock on effects. It means that retail cannabis is more expensive. It also means that delivery services are out – or at least harder to access. For patients who cannot drive in the first place, this is a double blow. How does one get access to a cash machine to pay a driver who must take a cash payment for the delivery?
Adding final insult to injury, even in those places where home-grow is legal, even paying for seeds in online shops in jurisdictions where this is legal is also frequently problematic. Why? The rules of international credit cards all follow American banking law. So does Paypal, despite Peter Thiel’s other very public investments in the medical cannabis and CBD industry.
Might there be a way to save time and money for patients by exploring another payment system? Especially one that would facilitate if not verify compliant medical deliveries. And further, could loop in dispensaries and growers? If not allow patients to at least get seeds delivered so they could grow their own medication at home?
Continue reading: Is There Any Hope For Medical Cannabis Coins? (Part 2)