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The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Director Announces Pilot Program to Assist Low-Income Medical Cannabis Patients

December 1, 2022

Pennsylvania’s new Medical Marijuana Program (PAMMJ) Director, Laura Mentch, announced a pilot program at a recent PAMMJ Advisory Board Meeting that will offer low-income senior citizens $50 per month to assist with the high cost of medical marijuana (cannabis) in the PAMMJ program.

This pilot program will help roughly 1,400 senior citizens who are enrolled in both the PAMMJ program and PACE or PACENET, which provide prescription drug assistance to senior citizens in PA, and will run until June of 2023.  Significantly, medical cannabis is not covered by insurance (in contrast to prescription drugs) due to cannabis being illegal at the federal level, which leaves PAMMJ patients footing the bill for some of the most expensive medical cannabis in the country even with dispensaries offering discounts to special groups of patients.

According to PAMMJ Director Laura Mentch, the average patient spends roughly $275 per month on medical cannabis. Mentch also pointed out that the PAMMJ program has approximately 423,000 active patients with 23% qualifying as low-income, though the pilot program will only be available to low income patients that are also senior citizens as defined by PACE and PAMMJ eligibility guidelines. This pilot program is the third and final phase of the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program (MMAP), which is regulated by Chapter 9 of the Medical Marijuana Act of 2016.

This pilot program will be important to watch to see if it has any impact on legislative changes to further assist medical cannabis patients.