'Ridiculous' price of medical marijuana leaves patients scrambling

'Ridiculous' price of medical marijuana leaves patients scrambling

Patrick McClellan was thrilled when he learned that his home state of Minnesota was legalizing medical marijuana in 2014. For McClellan, a former chef who had been on disability since he developed a rare form of muscular dystrophy, the drug provided the best relief for his painful muscle spasms.

But six years after Minnesota rolled out its medical marijuana program, McClellan is still buying pot off the street. The reason is simple, he says: It’s far cheaper.

“I'm paying a lot of money every month in out-of-pocket copays for my medication,” said McClellan, 54. “On top of that, I have to pay ridiculous prices for medical cannabis in the state of Minnesota."

He said he spends about $125 to $150 a month on black market weed. The equivalent product purchased through the state program would cost him about $500, McClellan said.

Some 37 states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize marijuana for medical use in the last decade. But as McClellan’s case illustrates, the price can be prohibitively expensive for those who rely on the drug to alleviate their chronic pain, nausea and other conditions.

Across the U.S., the price of medical marijuana can be more than double the cost of street pot – even before you factor in the additional step required to keep it legal. Patients have to qualify for a medical marijuana card, which can cost up to $200 a year in states like Minnesota, according to an NBC News review.

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