A Penny Can Buy a Lot of Pot — If You're a Deserving Patient or Vet

Dispensaries are in the holiday spirit, helping out medical marijuana patients and veterans.

Starting Wednesday, December 21, LivWell Enlightened Health is providing an ounce of CBD for a penny to qualified medical patients through its LivWell Cares program, in partnership with CannAbility and American Medical Refugees (AMR).

"We're always looking for ways we can do more. One thing we can do is grow cannabis," says Neal Levine, senior vice president of government affairs at LivWell. "We want to make sure this medicine goes to patients with a real need, especially these families with sick children."

LivWell partnered with CannAbility and AMR on the deal because of the dedicated work both organizations do to help medical patients, Levine explains. For new patients to receive the penny ounce of CBD, they must first register with one of the two. Then, to ensure that the CBD goes to patients who are truly in need, CannAbility and AMR will provide their qualifying clients with vouchers to produce at checkout at any of LivWell's ten recreational dispensaries.

LivWell plans to keep the promotion running until supplies run out. Each of the retail stores will also have a donation jar so that recreational users can aid in the effort.

"We want to get the product into the hands of the people who really really need it going into the holiday season," Levine says. CannAbility and AMR "work with so many people hand to hand, I couldn't think of anybody to work with to make sure it gets to as many of the right people as possible."

This is the first time that LivWell has done a CBD promotion during the holidays, but earlier this year it had a special deal for veterans on Memorial Day.

LivWell isn't the only local dispensary group that wants to help veterans who rely on cannabis for medical or emotional purposes.

Colorado Harvest Company found a silver lining in the new edibles laws that were instituted in October, making it illegal to sell any edible that doesn't have a THC icon on each individual piece. In order to comply, many edibles companies had to discard the edibles they'd already made that didn't meet the new guidelines.

"We were able to facilitate the coordination of a pretty substantial amount of edibles that were otherwise going to find their way into a dumpster because of their packaging, not because of the edible," explains Colorado Harvest CEO Tim Cullen.

Rather than throw them out, Colorado Harvest partnered with Wana and Grow for Vets to provide veterans with edibles for one cent — since companies are forbidden to give away products, even to their own employees. As a result, they distributed $60,000 worth of cannabis products last month for pocket change.

"And $60,000 is probably lowballing it," says Colorado Harvest's sales manager, Chad Drew, who estimates that the company gave out about 200,000 milligrams' worth of edibles through November.

Veterans were the obvious beneficiaries, says Drew, a vet himself: "It's logical to give it back to the veterans who served us."
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Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.