Four Hundred Dollar Consultation Fees Mean Class Warfare in the Cannabis Movement

“It was alleged that the only way I could make my fortune was to become an advocate and, still worse, an ecclesiastical advocate, because I was considered to be gifted in speaking. If the question had been given due consideration I should have been allowed to do as I wished and become a physician, in which profession quackery is even more effective than it is in legal practice. I practiced neither profession; and it could not be otherwise. Perhaps this is why I have never wished either to employ advocates when I happened to have legal claims to present in court or to call in physicians when I was ill. Legal squabbling ruins more families than it supports; and those who die killed by physicians are far more numerous than those who are cured. It follows that mankind would be far less wretched without these two breeds.”

– Giacomo Casanova, History of my Life

“Well, have they cure you?” his companion answered, “No, they haven’t.”
“Ha! You must have wasted a lot of money over it, and we believe them over here”.

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

My friends who are not currently in jail have been keeping me up-to-date on the current debates within the cannabis movement. Apparently, the debate at the moment is whether it is fair for a doctor to charge $400 for a consultation fee to each cannabis smoker seeking a recommendation to use cannabis, rather than charge taxpayers $140 and risk raising the ire of the establishment in the process.

I, as a socialist, think the idea of having to pay even 5 cents for a measure of human autonomy that should be everyone’s birthright is too much money. But, given that the only two choices being debated are $400 to the individual or $140 to the taxpayer, I’d have to go with the $140 option.

To be clear, I still believe there should be doctors and lawyers despite my choice of quotes for this weeks topic, but, to paraphrase the doctor in the movie Sicko, maybe they only need one or two cars instead of three or four.

It seems to me the problem stems from charging people so much money to go to law school or medical school in the first place. If education were subsidized as it is in many European countries there wouldn’t be massive student loans to pay off, or massive attitudes of entitlement and privilege to contend with. If doctors and lawyers were paid less, say ten times the minimum wage instead of 40 or 50 or 100 times, the profession might attract those who are focused more on helping people than on making money.

One last point I feel is worth mentioning: the traditional way of defeating social justice movements, human rights movements, and nationalistic movements is to divide them. The easiest way to do that is along class lines. This is why I believe all members of the cannabis movement should oppose $400 consultation fees and $1000 fines for third time possession. The moment isn’t here just for the rich cannabis users; it is here for all cannabis users.

David Malmo-Levine is a Vancouver marijuana activist incarcerated at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge, BC, for his establishment of the Vancouver Herb School. Please click here and here for more information on David’s case.

David Malmo-Levine



  1. Matt on

    Hey Marc, hopefully you are still a free man, for the rest of your life.
    Is Dr. Kanvera located in the province of British columbia, CANADA? Is there any way to get info about his services other than a email? sorry i am a little sceptical about replying to an unknown email address. Don’t forget the DEA operates in canada as well. However thank you for all your support over the years. You and Jodie keep up the good work.

  2. marc on
  3. Anonymous on

    I don’t pay more than $200 an ounce, on the black market(BM). And if this is the price scheme for the regulated market, this project will fail. But perhaps that’s the aim. Kind of like decriminalization, setup to fail. If the government price is higher than the BM, then the BM will continue to thrive. Legal pot should cost less than tobacco, as its easier to grow and process. In this scenario, the government is worse than the dealers. And I will continue to break the “law” and buy from the free market. And it is the only free market we have if you think about it. The price of weed in my neck of the woods hasn’t gone up more than $20 bucks an ounce since the I started smoking in the 80’s.
    I have to wonder who thinks this crap up. Bet he’s making a truck load of cash. Remember kiddies, money is the root of all evil. Always look for the man behind the curtains.

  4. DML Fan on

    Hey folks

    Please name the clinic that offers the $400 MMJ script.

    If it was illegal for the clinic to do it, quite simply put, they wouldn’t do it. Clinic’s aren’t going to do anything illegal, no way. So lets give them a little free advertising and name some names. Cool?

  5. Anonymous on

    Use Mozilla Firefox, and get an extension for it called Ad-Block Plus. It’ll eliminate probably 99% of the flashing ads you see anywhere on the web. I’ve been coming here for awhile now, and I’ve yet to see one.

  6. Brian Kerr on

    Try a vaporizer. Vaporizers do not burn the plant material.
    They heat it up to the point where the Cannaboids vaporize. There is no smoke or carbon and vaporization is far more efficient.

  7. Anonymous on

    You pay $300 an ounce in Colorado? I feel like a thief if I charge more than $6 a gram, for good NL bud. Bud is very weak, any bud. Doesn’t matter if it’s Skunk, NL, Blueberry, whatever. You smoke it daily for a few weeks and it does next to nothing. I have to extract the resin and mix it with some crushed up weed powder to make a black hash. You get 25% of the weight of the bud you started with. That means that bud is 1/4 the potency of hash. Why even waste your lungs on bud, and stink your home up, when all you need is some acetone to make something that will actually be effective even after weeks or months of daily use and you only have to inhale 1/4 the smoke.
    My philosophy is that bud isn’t a usable drug, it’s what you make a usable drug from. Admittedly, you can feel it if you only smoke occasionally but all day every day? Not too likely. Breathing in carbon particles is very bad for the lungs, and will kill you eventually, so best to inhale as little smoke as possible.

  8. Samuel on

    I can only speak for my own MMJ state of Colorado, but my lovely girlfriend actually moonlights at a recommendation clinic (we run a MMJ Bakery: “Baked At A Mile High”) and it is fairly obvious to everyone in the biz that the open market (at least until the state gets around to trying to regulate it) has reduced prices for patients drastically: doctor’s visits with no medical records now hover around $150 – $125 and the average price of an ounce of A-grade meds is slowly dropping to below $300.

    The state charges an additional $90 application fee but many patients in poverty have options of caregivers who will pay for them or other types of special programs dedicated to helping the sick and poor!

  9. Old Fogey on

    I wouldn’t say “utterly impossible,” but it’s annoying and kinda tacky. The advertisers pay the bills and therefore call the shots, but maybe management should ask them to tone it down a little. This is supposed to be a serious site and forum for cannabis culture but it comes across more like a backwoods theme park.

  10. Anonymous on

    Don’t you have some LPs to put in milk crates or something?

  11. Anonymous on

    it’s utterly impossible to read articles on this site is it just me? all the ads flashing all over the page its annoying as hell i cant be the only one who is bothered by this i feel like im on a kids animated gif site

  12. Old Fogey on

    Barf it up, big fella, barf it up. I hope it makes you feel better. It certainly serves no other useful purpose.

  13. Matt on

    i live in bc and have been fired from one doctor and refused by two others for MMAR. i have the required medical and paperwork to prove it. i would gladly pay 400$ for a doctor to see for medical marijuana. could you point me in the right direction?

  14. Anonymous on

    I know the doctor you are referring to. The clinic provides an invaluable service to the people of BC and Ontario.

    Without it – and their $400 fee – there would be hundreds of people in Canada without legal access to medical marijuana. A VAST number of Doctors in Canada have been intimidated by the government and will not sign a B1 or B2, no matter what. Not for any reasonable or principled basis – simply because they do not want the hasle and follow up investigation from Health Canada. At all. Period.

    Without the option of turning to this clinic (and yes, their $400 fee), about half the population of Canada would have nowhere else to turn.

    While the $400 fee may shrivel your socialist soul, the alternative to no access to ANY doctor who will sign a B2 form even when the facts justify it is a valuable and important access to medical marijuana by millions of Canadians. Without that service, there would be a far graver injustice than with it – even at a $400 price tag.

    So yes, I paid the $400. I’ll pay it again too, and count myself lucky, given the alternatives.

    Idealism and the way things “should” be is all well and good David. But how about you write about the way things actually are,, and how much worse it would be if that clinic and their $400 fee did not exist?

    Where’s that article? Where’s that perspective on MMJ in Canada David? Where’s the principle where the rubber theory meets the road of reality?

    Just because you are a self-described socialist does not mean that you are excused from applying your principles to the real world we all live in. If you continue to apply thoe principles of justice to some theoretical world that does not address real problems *now*, you can expect to enjoy the same sympathy and popularity for those same views you espouse that you get right now.

    Which is to say: not much damn popularity at all.

  15. Anonymous on

    Anybody who would pay hundreds of dollars for a handfull of dried herbage is stupid, really really stupid
    – the Cops knew this all along and come onto you
    – the dealers knew this all along and come onto you
    – so the medical profession was a little slow
    reaching that conclusion- but they did and it costs you $400 for somebody in a white coat to come onto you

    stupid is as stupid does

    might as well be even more stupid and hire a doctor to remind you,, and pussy whipped urban stoners want the government to regulate and tax pot.. thats super stupid

    all in favor of DML for the new Prince of Pot say YES

  16. Anonymous on

    That’s why the current healthcare debate is almost meaningless. The medical schools have created an MD shortage, so those folks going on Medicare in the next 20 years won’t get much medical care in any event. Artificially induced shortages are a great way to raise prices of anything.