The Patient's Perspective
But let’s look at it from the perspective of the patient. What is a
“reasonable” price for the patient to pay? How can we insure that unscrupulous
people who are only in it for the money do not over-charge and unfairly gouge
those who really need their medicine?
The best solution to the problem of patients being gouged is that
patients have multiple choices in the market. More competition among providers
of any product or service means more reasonable prices to the consumers.
How do we stimulate competition – and thus fairer prices to the
people who are seriously ill? The obvious answer is the one at the heart of the
capitalist economy: Profits.
People won’t go through the trouble, expense, and considerable risk
involved in providing medical marijuana to patients unless the profits are
there to make it worthwhile. No service will be provided on a widespread basis
unless it is “reasonable” to the people who will provide the service. That
Profits – and very good profits at that – are not only legal,
they are absolutely crucial to insuring that there will be reasonable and
reliable supplies of marijuana to the sick people who need it.
The supply of medical marijuana to patients depends on two factors.
The first is whether the price is "reasonable" to the patient.
The second is whether the compensation is "reasonable" to the
provider, given the labor, investment, and risks involved.
If either side of that balance fails then the patient is the loser.
The legislature implicitly recognized this in SB 420 when they said
that caregivers are entitled to “reasonable compensation”. If "reasonable
compensation" does not include adequate amounts to cover the expenses, labor,
and risks -- and to provide motivation to the provider besides -- then the
provider will simply stop providing.
The intent of Proposition 215 and SB 420 was that patients should
be able to obtain their medicine in a reasonable manner. If "reasonable
compensation" does not include profits then legal supplies will be limited and
patients will be forced back into the underground market with all the
additional risks and problems that poses. Such a result would thwart the entire
purpose of the laws and do much to harm the health of the most seriously ill.
There is no reasonable alternative to the conclusion that store front
operations are not only allowed, they are encouraged.