Published Monday, November 22, 2021, 12:08 am
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Columbia Care Inc. has expanded its medical cannabis subsidy program, Share Well / Care Well, to eight states, including Virginia.
Launched in 2019 and formerly known as Adopt-a-Family, the Share Well / Care Well program provides financial grants to Columbia Care patients in need. These subsidies are financed by a portion of the income from the company’s branches as well as donations from patients, customers and employees.
To date, over 200 patient grants have been made in six states. Columbia Care is working to expand the program to all medical markets by 2022, subject to regulatory approval.
“We created Columbia Care with patient access at the heart of everything we do, knowing that this life-changing medicine is out of reach for far too many, whether it be because of prohibitions, high costs or persistent stigma,” said Nicholas Vita, Columbia CEO Care. “Our mission is to ensure that we not only improve access for those who can benefit most from cannabis, but also prevent us from becoming opioids, the illicit market, or continuing to suffer. Without insurance coverage to cut costs, this is a reality for many and we hope that through the Share Well / Care Well program we can help break down the barriers to access to medical cannabis. “
Eligibility for the Share Well / Care Well program is determined by financial needs. Examples of requirements include monthly medical cannabis spending that exceeds 15 percent of monthly household income or annual household income that falls below 138 percent of the federal poverty line.
“Legalization has not caught up to recognize the need for financial support in this industry and act accordingly,” said Ngiste Abebe, vice president of public policy at Columbia Care. “We’re talking about patients who have turned to this natural herb for pain relief instead of relying on addictive drugs. Patient access is a cornerstone of our political work, and we believe that financial needs should never stand in the way of transforming life-changing medical cannabis. This program illustrates the power of how the cannabis community supports one another. “
A patient in New York said, “I have multiple sclerosis, which is confined to a motorized wheelchair and has severe muscle spasms that cause debilitating pain. The best and only medication to help me is Columbia Care’s medical marijuana. Since I’ve been taking the pills, I’ve felt great relief and less pain, which allows me to socialize and not be trapped and isolated. It was a blessing. Since I have a small fixed income, the program has helped me keep using my medical marijuana. “
A full list of criteria and how to apply online can be found on the program website. To learn more about the program and to see a list of participating pharmacies, visit www.sharewellcarewell.com.