Cannabis has allowed me to live a good life, to help others, and contribute to the world, it has made my life worth living again. The Governor’s proposal would make the medication that I rely on completely unaffordable for me.
I am treating a severe condition that will never improve. I currently use at least an ounce of medication a week, when I have surgery that amount will increase. I currently grow my own medicine because that is the cheapest option for me
Plants are susceptible to mold, rot, bugs, they get damaged from too much humidity, heat fluxuations and interruptions in electricity. This is farming, anything can happen. If I only have one or two plants to work with at each stage I can’t possibly have a perpetual grow that provides my medicine year round, it just won’t work with those numbers. Even if I somehow managed to create a monster plant that would give me over 4 ounces…I’m not currently able to have that much dry medicine at a time, so how would I be able to provide for myself year round? The proposed changes to bring my plant count down to a total of 6 plants from my current 24 wouldn’t just make it difficult, it would make it completely impossible for me to be able to afford my medication. I would not be able to provide for myself, and instead of paying 3 thousand dollars a year for my medication I will be forced to buy at the Compassion centers that don’t carry the specific thc/cbd ratios that I require and would cost me over 16 thousand dollars a year! (40 dollars and 1/8th, 320 an ounce, 320x52=16,540) I have been on disability from before I turned 30, I don’t have that kind of money, I don’t know any sick people who do.
My medication should not be taxed. It should not be taxed at the compassion centers and it should not be taxed by how many plants I am growing. Adding 150 dollars annually per plant based on the idea that I somehow make 17 thousand dollars by growing my own medication is flawed. I cannot make money on something I am consuming as my medication. I do not sell it. I am not a corporation to be taxed but a real live human with a catastrophic disease that causes constant pain and medical emergencies and I am just barely getting by as it is. Adding a tax to this, adding any more financial burden to my already overburdened state will simply collapse me. I will be forced to either move to a friendly state like Maine or Colorado, or stay in RI and become a criminal growing outside of the program.
I’m not a criminal. my only crime is that I was born with a devastating illness with no cure, no treatment, a guarantee of pain for the rest of my life, and a strong desire to live my life the best way I can!
If gifting hadn’t existed when I first started out I wouldn’t even know what medicine helps me and what to avoid. I’ve also benefitted from the gifting program when I lost my garden to a bug infestation. Removing gifting would make it much more difficult for new patients to navigate the program as well as low income patients who can’t afford to pay and people like myself who sometimes have a garden emergency and need a little help until we get back on our feet.
We have such a great program in RI right now, it isn’t perfect, there are still too many patients suffering stigma, too many going without because they can’t afford the medicine or the license fees. The proposed changes would make this medication unaffordable to the sick, and isn’t that who it is for? If we want to generate income I urge the governor to look into taxing and regulating recreational use and help, not harm our patient community. Please keep this medication affordable, we need less fees not more.