Medical marijuana is widely being used as treatment for numerous illnesses that render patients disabled.
Some of these conditions include chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, nerve pain, back pain, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and many more. But while marijuana manufacturers and the laws have forced businesses to create packaging that is childproof, not disability-friendly. On top of that, seniors are one of the fastest-rising demographics to use cannabis, although the way cannabis is commonly manufactured in many forms, most of it isn’t disabled-friendly by any means.
Cannabis businesses should also know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a mandate for all companies to get rid of any feature that makes it difficult for disabled persons to get access to their services or goods online. It can make them look like they are discriminating against disabled persons when there are “architectural, transportation, and communication barriers” which make access for the disabled to use their services like normal people would. Cannabis companies can be taken to court for these purposes, and several already have, in the past.
Child-safe packaging makes it extra difficult for seniors and others with disabilities to access their medicine. Imagine suffering from a severe episode of pain and not being able to open a container of your edibles or other medication? These types of packaging can require up to 10 minutes to open even if it’s already in your hands.
Dispensaries and businesses should make it a priority to allow all customers to easily enter their establishment. Here’s what dispensaries can do to make medicine more accessible for people with disabilities:
Wheelchair accessibility: In the United States, mobility problems are some of the most common types of disabilities affecting people. Constructing ground-level entrances or ramps will greatly benefit your customers. If the main entrance is far or is another floor, you can offer a handicapped parking where disabled persons can go get and pay for their medicine.
Store signages: Each area of your dispensary should be properly labeled. Be sensitive about the language that you use whenever referring to persons with disabilities, and don’t call people with wheelchairs as wheelchair-bound.
Website accessibility: Customers should easily be able to look for and buy products when they visit your website. Are you making it easy for those with visual impairments to see all the content and information on your site? Are there numerous obstructions in the form of flashing banners that can cause seizures? Are all visitors given ample time to read the content with appropriate calls to action? It may be time to redesign your website to make it more disabled-friendly.
Staff education: Educating your dispensary employees is a critical step to making your business more friendly for those with disabilities. It will have a significant impact in how they treat disabled customers, and you will always want to ensure that everyone – especially those with impairments – leave with a positive experience. It’s an unfortunate fact that people with disabilities are unfairly prone to poor treatment and treated as second-class citizens.
Disability-Friendly Cannabis Products
Disabled consumers and their loved ones need to find ways to make it easier for those who need their medicine to access it right away. Oftentimes, it requires a little time-saving preparation such as putting flower and edibles in an easy-to-open reusable container so that when the need hits, you can medicate immediately without any struggles.
Those who medicate with flower also have the option of using automatic grinders and joint rolling machines that can do the job much faster for you. Keep your blunts and joints stored safely in a container which you can easily reach for when you need it. On the other hand, those who are visually impaired may benefit from using cannabis flower stored in medicine containers, which make it easy to tell one apart from the other by merely using your sense of smell. Vape cartridges and oils are not ideal for the visually impaired.
Using sublingual products is also ideal for disabled persons provided that the dropper bottles are easy to open. Simply place a few drops underneath your tongue for immediate relief.
Child-resistant packaging such as jars with caps, push down & turn vials, reversible cap vials, and tubes are all a no-no. These are only frustrating to deal with for people who struggle with using their hands or have other mobility problems.
Cannabis edibles and beverages are also excellent choices primarily because you don’t have to keep topping up your medication throughout the day. Infused food and drinks can last the whole day. In addition, they offer the extra benefit of being easy to dose since the packaging already indicates exactly how much you should be taking.
While there is still a lot that should be done in the medical marijuana industry for accommodating disabled persons, continuing this conversation can ensure that those who don’t have a voice are given one. It’s up to disabled patients and their families to do what’s possible with the resources available in your area so that people don’t have to struggle medicating at the time you need it.
After all, marijuana should be inclusive: it’s medicine at the end of the day, so businesses should always consider the obstacles faced by the people who need it the most. Thankfully, there are solutions and choices available for people who have difficulties with product packaging or their method of consumption.