Medical Marijuana Disqualifies You From Health Insurance

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — I used to get high on life, but then I had to seize more and more days to get the same buzz, so I entered the gateway. You may not be aware, but marijuana isn't the only medicinal marvel mankind discovered. On January 16, 1920, the Volstead Act kick-started Prohibition in the United States, and doctors across the nation doled out prescriptions for whiskey (including bourbon), a popular medicine of our forefathers, and their forefathers before them. By the time Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933, the heroic liquid had saved countless people from buckling under the stress of being broke.

The world has changed a lot since those days – in our modern fast-paced society, we can no longer afford to waste our mornings in recovery from the previous evening's self-medication. Marijuana has become the go-to choice in a nation where Xanax and opiates are being monitored to the point that it's difficult to balance on our legal high horses. Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ted Turner's answer to "House," changed his stance on ganja.

The problem is, not only is medical ganja not covered by health insurance, registering as a reefer patient disqualifies you from every health insurance plan in the country.

Does Obama Care about Marijuana?

Although President Barack Obama openly supports toking and admits "the incarceration model [the federal government has] taken particularly around marijuana does not seem to produce the kind of results we've set," he doesn't appear willing or able to move toward full decriminalization of the herbal medicine. Until he does, patients in the 15 states who have thus far legalized pot will have to find alternative health care options.

The reason is that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule-1 controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Drug Administration. For those not savvy, this means it's considered by the FDA and DEA to be among the most dangerous drugs in existence. Other Schedule-1 drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy/molly and peyote. Drugs considered by the U.S. government to be less dangerous than THC include cocaine, codeine, steroids, methadone, and Xanax.

How Can I Offset the Cost without Insurance?

At the moment, your best bet is to stay under the radar – there's no reason your insurance carrier representatives need to know you smoke blunts if they're going to disqualify you from health coverage. Instead, offset the costs associated with chronic by procuring seeds to grow your own.

Cannabis seeds have been traded underground longer than Pokémon, and every state in our union is filled with pokémasters trying to catch them all. Laws vary by state as to how many plants you can grow for personal consumption, but you'll generally be left alone so long as you're not out slanging it on the streets. If you can't find a website that'll ship to your state for one reason or another (think outside the country), you can always connect to the Deep Web to seek out the Dread Pirate Roberts and his fabled Silk Road.

Potted Plants

Growing your own marijuana requires a bit of research – you'll want to check out bud depositories and rating sites such as Leafly, Nuggetry or Sticky Guide. These sites will allow you to search for the medicinal properties you need for your particular ailment. WebMD offers the same service if you need a trustworthy face, but trust me – street surgeons aren't the best (search "body modification enthusiasts" if you enjoy blue waffles and other gross pics), but street pharmacists, home-brewers, and SWIM (stands for "Someone I Met" in drug forums as a way to admit knowledge without experience) generally know their stuff.

Once you have a bucket list of at least 20 strains that you'd like to try, decide where you want to plant your seeds. Outdoors provides plenty of space and natural light and nutrients, but exposes your harvest to theft. Indoors allows full security, but you have limited space and spend more time and resources caring for your adult aloe vera. If you're in an apartment or other confined space, I'd recommend an Aerogarden. They're automatic, provide up to two feet of grow height and never fail to sprout seeds.

Comparing the size restraints of your gardening space to the grow sizes of the strains you like will narrow your options considerably. From this point, you merely need to make a decision on the seed within your means, and get to growing your own.

Hairy Potter

Although as American citizens we're supposed to be free of cruel and unusual punishments (it's in one of those documents we wrote and seemed to have misplaced), Snoop fans and Dead-heads will need to stick to 15 states. Going green in one of the other states could get you in a sticky-icky situation with the law, and even when traveling within those states, you could get caught up (ask Dwayne Carter his feelings on Joe Arpaio).

It all seems cruel and unusual to me, but what do I know about what's written on government documents? I'm not Obama – I live on Main Street. With any luck Obama cares more about his medicated-but-online-savvy constituents more than Obamacare, because marijuana only treats the symptoms, and the general population still can't afford any cures out-of-pocket.

--Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, writer, consultant, and troll. He's a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, Lifehack, Money Side of Life, and other outlets around the web.

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