Washington state

Medical cannabis patients can apply for one-time grant to help offset product costs

There is now money available for medical marijuana patients to bring some relief to their cannabis purchase cost.

Earlier this month, the Washington CannaBusiness Association announced that its Washington Medical Access Fund is accepting applications from qualifying patients to help offset product cost.

The program is similar to other nonprofit programs that provide prescription-drug price relief.

The money, a one-time $100 grant awarded to selected registered cannabis patients facing financial hardship, is made possible through the nonprofit Washington Medical Access Fund.

The fund works to raise money though tax-deductible donations. It earned approval from the Internal Revenue Service in 2018.

“Our members — state-licensed cannabis producers, processors and retailers — work every day to uphold a safe, regulated and quality-controlled legal marketplace,” said Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, in an announcement this month. “We are looking forward to awarding our first grants and continuing to fundraise for this new program on behalf of patients in our state.”

General requirements for applying to the program include having a Washington state medical marijuana card or being able to provide valid documentation of a qualifying medical diagnosis that’s not relieved by standard medical treatments and medications as defined by the state from a licensed provider.

Those include:

Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.

Intractable pain.

Glaucoma, either acute or chronic.

Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms.

Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain.

Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity.

Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.

Posttraumatic stress disorder.

Traumatic brain injury.

Financial requirements include currently receiving Medicare or having a limited income determined using the following guidelines: up to four times the federal poverty level, cost of living dependent on family size and cost of medical expenses. Other financial hardships not reflected in documentation also might be considered based on evaluation.

The checks will be distributed two to three weeks after application approval. No word yet on how many patients will be approved.

To apply for the assistance, download the form at wcaa.memberclicks.net/assets/docs/WMAF%20Application.pdf

Donations also are being accepted now to help expand the fund. Go to wcaa.memberclicks.net/medical-access-fund-announcement for donation information.