Report: 90% of Virginia Med Sufferers Acquire Weed Outdoors of State’s Medical Market


It’s not unusual for residents of states but to enact hashish legal guidelines to journey and acquire their weed by out-of-state dispensaries. Nonetheless, one Southern state seems to be experiencing this concern on the subject of medical hashish, although it’s had authorized, operational medical dispensaries since 2020.

A new 78-page report launched by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) takes a better take a look at the state’s medical hashish market, most notably discovering that the state’s excessive costs are driving customers to bordering states to buy their hashish merchandise.

The report is the results of a request on behalf of the CCA from earlier in 2023, to review Virginia’s medical hashish program with a give attention to affected person entry and “figuring out the need and feasibility of including new licenses to the prevailing program.” The examine concerned a inhabitants survey of past-year hashish customers and sufferers, an evaluation of provide based mostly on affected person experiences and a coverage evaluation.

Excessive Costs Push Virginians Out of State, Different Means

“The examine discovered that the Virginia medical hashish program is struggling to seize sufferers amid evolving native insurance policies in addition to adult-use insurance policies in bordering states, leading to costs remaining excessive,” the report notes, including that 12% of sufferers report touring to acquire hashish from different states or jurisdictions, largely Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

In response to the report, medical hashish sufferers in Virginia spend extra on hashish than non-medical hashish sufferers within the state. It additionally notes that sufferers in Virginia report spending an estimate of $19 per gram on common for medical hashish flower, which is larger than the nationwide common for medical hashish flower — although trying on the publicly obtainable value knowledge, the report discovered that the typical value of a medical gram in Virginia was nearer to $14, which remains to be larger than common.

By comparability, the typical value per medical gram in D.C. was $8/73 in September 2023; in Maryland, adult-use hashish is $9.27 per gram on common.

Trying broader, 90% of sufferers bought hashish from sources apart from the Virginia medical market, and the most important proportion of grams had been obtained from “an unregulated, however not essentially illicit, market.”  Moreover, 57% of medical sufferers obtained their hashish by rising at dwelling, whereas 65.2% of sufferers acquired hashish from a buddy or household. 

Virginia MMJ Program’s Low Boundaries, Low Participation

Regardless of low barriers to patient participation, Virginia’s estimated affected person enrollment encompasses 0.5% of the overall state inhabitants, which authors say helps the assertion that sufferers can meet their want for medical hashish elsewhere. 

Of these past-year customers who will not be sufferers, 22% mentioned they didn’t must turn into medical sufferers as a result of they already had entry to hashish.

“Virginia’s restrictive coverage framework, together with restricted licensing and the Well being Service Space (HSA) segmentation, coupled with the widespread availability of hashish from out-of-state markets, dwelling cultivation, and illicit channels, has created an surroundings by which Pharmaceutical Processors are working at their profit-maximizing provide amount,” the report states. 

“In different phrases, licensees could haven’t any expectation of elevated earnings in the event that they develop their provide and decrease costs as a result of substitute markets have just lately taken root.”

Options Wanted to Maintain Virginia’s Medical Program

The report notes that the excessive costs of Virginia’s medical hashish are “seemingly obligatory” for Pharmaceutical Processors to remain afloat as a result of present state market and insurance policies that accompany it, somewhat than deliberately overcharging medical sufferers.

Authors additionally lay out 5 potential pathways to enhance affected person entry to medical hashish, with the shared goal to extend provide, decrease costs and shift affected person demand to regulated Pharmaceutical Processors.

The pathways embrace a mixture of potential choices, like issuing the remaining Pharmaceutical Processor licenses within the HSA or including restricted standalone medical cultivation, manufacturing and dispensary licenses allowed to function inside any HSA whereas permitting Pharmaceutical Processors to develop past the present six-store minimal inside their space.

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