California’s Compassionate Care Programs Are Ready for a Comeback

Jan. 1 marked the start of a rebound for California’s compassionate care programs. A new law, SB 34, removes cultivation, retail and excise taxes on cannabis donated to patients with illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, or glaucoma.

Kaiser Health News takes a look at what cannabis collectives are doing to extend a hand to those in need. A Therapeutic Alternative in Sacramento is poised to resume the care packages it stopped in 2018. Jetty Extracts says it may expand its Shelter Project.

These types of programs were common prior to the passage of Prop. 64. But legalization had unintended consequences for medical patients who relied on free marijuana. The hefty taxes made those donations unsustainable for business.

Even with SB 34 in place, this new era of compassionate care will differ from years past. It is mostly the large and mid-sized cannabis businesses that are restarting their programs. The licensing fees for starting a collective can range in the tens of thousands of dollars now. Small businesses have a hard enough time getting into the marketplace, let alone handing out weed for free.