Medical cannabis users cannot afford the weed that’s keeping them healthy—and legalization won’t help

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These patients are among the country’s sickest, its poorest, its most opiated. But as the country lurches toward legalization, the patients who most rely on cannabis are still struggling to pay for it.

On a mild February afternoon in 2014, a pastor named Chris from the Maritimes sat outside his Jeep in a park near his home by the water, and smoked a joint. There was a sense of experimentation, curiosity even. Having never smoked weed as a teenager, Chris barely knew what he was doing. He got his hands on his first quarter ounce of weed less than two weeks earlier, and was still looking for the answer to a question: What did cannabis have to offer?

“I was sitting outside and smoking it, and running through my mind was, ‘I really want this to work,’” he says. “‘Please let this work.’”

Chris drove a minute or two down the road back to his house, and got out of the car. For any other pot smoker, on any other day, the act of getting out of your car and walking is entirely unremarkable. Remarkable, though, were the things left behind: a cane, left sitting in the front seat of his Jeep. The constant, debilitating pain in his back, resulting from seven herniated and two compressed discs that had left him bedridden and opiated for the better part of the past decade, had for the moment disappeared. (Chris has asked This Magazine to withhold his last name and the city where he resides, since not everyone at the church and in his community knows he uses cannabis.)

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Kieran Delamont – This – April 2, 2018.

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