What is the Frank’s Friends Initiative?
The Frank's Friends Initiative is a program that assists Massachusetts medical marijuana patients that have documented verified financial hardship and a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS by providing 50% OFF of products and services for those who qualify at participating medical marijuana dispensaries and certifying healthcare providers. Patients must show documentation of both their low-income status and HIV/AIDS diagnosis to qualify.
What does a patient need to provide in order to qualify for the Frank’s Friends Initiative?
Patients must bring their valid form of identification and valid Medical Use of Marijuana Program ID card. To prove HIV/AIDS diagnosis, qualifying patients must bring one of the following documents:
1. A signed note from a physician that has had an ongoing relationship in treating the patient’s HIV/AIDS.
2. A copy of the HIV/AIDS diagnosis from their certifying healthcare provider.
Patients must also bring one of the four pieces of documentation for verified financial hardship in order to qualify. This includes:
- Official MassHealth acceptance letter for the current year, or official MassHealth redetermination letter for the current year
- SSI benefit verification letter for the current year,
SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) statement from the current year
- State or federal tax return from this year or last year, income may not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.
Why was the Frank’s Friends Initiative developed?
The cost of HIV/AIDS medications is costly and even copays under certain medical programs can burden the financial stability of those suffering with HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, because of the federal illegality of marijuana, this medication is not covered by health insurance, forcing HIV/AIDS patients to pay further out of pocket expenses to attain their medication. Some people with HIV/AIDS are living at or under the poverty level in order to qualify and maintain their subsidized healthcare services such as MassHealth, housing, SNAP benefits, and other social programs.
The high cost of medical marijuana can deter some HIV/AIDS patients from taking advantage of the medical marijuana program in Massachusetts. For this reason, the Frank’s Friends Initiative was developed to create discount programs at Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) and certifying healthcare providers to help those with HIV/AIDS and verified financial hardship afford the costs associated with this medication. HIV/AIDS patients brought marijuana as a medicine to the forefront in a time when little other relief was available to those suffering with this condition. As we enter a new decade we must continue to recognize and help those living with HIV/ AIDS, not forgetting the legacy of those who lived and died advocating.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTICIPATE?
Does your medical marijuana dispensary want to include The Frank’s Friends Initiative as part of its plan to provide reduced cost marijuana to patients with verified financial hardship? Please contact Frank H. Shaw for the full proposal document by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by calling (978) 412-2212