ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the state’s two medical marijuana dispensaries will give patients a 15 percent discount if they get a monthly supply of medical cannabis.
The announcement comes as the number of patients enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program remains lower than expected.READ MORE: 8 Great Danes Rescued From Minivan In Western Minnesota: 'The Worst We've Seen In A Long Time'
In the three-and-a-half months since Minnesota’s program started, only 491 patients are registered to get medical cannabis.
Patients with a range of chronic conditions, including forms of cancer and epilepsy, are eligible. Medical marijuana is not covered by insurance and the monthly cost to patients ranges from $100 a month to more than $500 a month.
Both patients and providers have said that price is a factor in keeping patients from registering.
Manny Munson-Regala, the CEO of LeafLine Labs, which announced the 15 percent discount, said in a statement that LeafLine is also seeing patients ration their medication and not get refills because of the cost.
Mark Petersen has HIV. His medical marijuana prescription, which he takes using a device similar to a vapor cigarette, costs him $640 a month after the 12 percent discount he gets for being on social security disability. Now, with an additional 15 percent discount, the monthly cost will be $500 a month.READ MORE: 84-Year-Old Wisconsin Woman Found Safe After Authorities Ask For Public's Help
“It would definitely help,” Petersen said.
Petersen said the $500 a month cost is still expensive, but it’s a big enough break to help him keep getting the medicine that is helping him.
“I am gaining weight clearly and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Petersen said it’s a huge relief to not have to buy marijuana on the street.
“It just took a lot of pressure off,” he said. “You are not dealing with street people. You are not dealing with illegal situations.”
Another cost to patients is that they have to pay $200 a year to be part of the state’s medical marijuana program. Those on medical assistance have to pay $50 a year.MORE NEWS: In Sartell, Beloved 'Grandpa Kevin' Is Sharing Life Lessons To Elementary School Students
Minnesota Medical Solutions, the other lab providing medical marijuana, did not respond to inquiries about whether they will be offering a discount, too.