The Cannabis Closet: Cash Is King

A reader writes:

In the past six months I have made extraordinary efforts to find a way to quit breaking the law.  I use pot, perhaps no more than the size of a pencil eraser, every night to sleep.  The "legal" medications exacerbated the depression and anxiety that are a result of child-hood trauma. My primary care physician understands this and has said, more than once, that "if it helps you and keeps you mentally well then continue."  I have.  For almost 20 years (I'm 37).  I have a graduate degree from Georgetown, I am the dept chair of a vibrant/progressive English department, I have been teaching for 15 years, I have a healthy marriage and two fabulous kids.  There has not been a single negative consequence – except the one time i was busted for possession – on an otherwise normal existence.

So when I began investigating becoming a licensed patient, two things emerged. 

First, my physician – whom I trust implicitly – was not willing to risk her license or practice to prescribe the medication because the state doesn't list my condition under the law.  Second, when I finally found the name of a doctor willing to prescribe medical marijuana to me, the nurse told me that at the time of booking the first appointment there is a REQUIRED FEE OF $500 and a waiting list until February to see the doctor.  When I called dispensaries to find out if that was common, the employees sighed and said, "well…cash is king right now."  My confusion must have been evident.  He went on to say that, "since there is such a rush of applicants to get licenses the doctor can charge whatever he wants."

The doctor has turned into a MUCH more expensive version of current source.  If I want weed, then I'm better off asking one of my high-school students for a hook-up (something i would NEVER do, obviously) than paying that kind of money for a simple consult.  I'm not sure how this is legal but it certainly seems unethical.