The legislation, which was approved by voters on Nov. 8, 2016, effectively eradicated compassionate care (medical and emotional care for patients with terminal diseases). Fortunately for patients, leading well-known cannabis software platform and marketplace Eaze is celebrating the inauguration of Eaze Compassion, which aims to reinstate compassionate care across the Golden State.
The End of Compassionate Care in California
Before Proposition 64 was officially enacted into state law, California’s medical cannabis consumers were generously served by a range of successful and well-executed compassionate care programs. For example, Proposition 215 permitted medical providers to deliver free cannabis donations among low-income patients.
Unfortunately, Proposition 64 wiped out compassionate care completely and instead taxed donations in the same way as sales; a state tax of $1,000 was added for every pound of patient-donated cannabis. Two solid years of advocating and managing compassionate care programs resulted in these services being restored for Californians through the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act (SB 34), a bill signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2019.
By collaborating with brands and advocates, Eaze’s new business venture will help implement SB 34, which enables dispensaries to donate cannabis to patients. Eaze is acknowledged as the nation’s largest cannabis supply marketplace, and the company’s recently unveiled nationwide program is expected to provide therapeutic respite for patients who’ve been cast aside by California’s cannabis laws.
A Collaborative Effort To Increase Cannabis Access
By capitalizing on Eaze’s vast array of brands and delivery drivers, Eaze Compassion meticulously forms a connection between cash-strapped patients and the products they rely on to live comfortably. Moreover, the new project involves collecting donated products for distribution among patients who have identifiably been “excluded” from the legal market, forced to pay high taxes, and/or reside in a jurisdiction that outlaws the legal cannabis trade (70% of California’s jurisdictions prohibit industry activity).
A number of pioneering compassionate organizations will assist Eaze Compassion specialists with this task, including Brownie Mary Democratic Club, Operation Evac, This Is Jane Project, and Weed For Warriors. In order to verify patient eligibility, various criteria are considered, including medical diagnosis, individual requirements, and income.
The program has received wide support from politicians advocating for access to medicinal cannabis, such as California Sen. Scott Wiener, who sponsored SB 34. “Cannabis is medicine. Nobody should be forced to live with the effects of debilitating pain, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, or any other illness because they can’t pay or live under a local ban,” said Wiener, who noted that cannabis donations are helping the Compassionate Care Act by Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary become reality.
Eliminating Cannabis Waste Through Partnerships
According to the CEO of Fumé Brands, Eric Sklar, his Napa, CA-headquartered company has already dispensed more than 8,000 units of cannabis to certified patients through the Eaze Compassion program. He says that donating is “a win-win situation” for his company, which has to either donate or destroy unused products under California law. “Our plants do best, and for low-income patients who can now access safe, legal medicines for free,” Sklar told reporters.
Someone else who agrees with Sklar is the executive director of the This Is Jane Project, Shannon DeGrooms, who described the partnership between Eaze Compassion and her project as “very important.” “Eaze’s seamless onboarding and delivery process, as well as the dedication of its team members, was a turning point in making free cannabis donation easier for women and non-binary trauma survivors,” said DeGrooms. “Together with partners like Eaze, we are committed to doing something about it.”
Ultimately, Eaze’s revolutionary new program kills two birds with one stone by increasing access to medicinal cannabis and mitigating cannabis product waste. “Many compassion programs collapsed in the early green onslaught, leaving the very people who were legalized cannabis to help,” said Eaze CEO Ro Choy. “Eaze Compassion gives companies an easy way to donate and distribute products that they would otherwise have to destroy, so I hope more brands will join the program.”
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