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High cost of medical marijuana limits access for Louisiana patients

When medical marijuana became available for sale on Aug. 6 in Louisiana, Jessica Potts, 36, was eager to sign up for the program.

When she was 21 she was diagnosed with a degenerative condition called multiple sclerosis, where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, causing pain and muscle spasticity among other symptoms. Traditional pain management had not worked, Potts said.

She spent three years, to no avail, trying to balance her career as a special education teacher in Baton Rouge with an ineffective pain management program. One that left her in the throes of pain and battling the side effects of opiate medication.

Multiple sclerosis is one of more than a dozen medical conditions covered by Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, so Potts knew she qualified for it. But she quickly learned, she could not afford it.

“My starting bill to see a doctor was $250. Then when I went to the dispensary for three bottles of tincture it was $398 for the month. That’s not something I can afford,” she said. “I can’t financially participate, unless something changes.”

Louisiana’s program is in its nascency and faces many of the same hurdles that initially drove up prices in states with similar size programs. [Read more at Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

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