The Real Reason Medical Marijuana is Not Covered By Insurance.

Daylin Leach
5 min readMar 7

This week I did something awesome!

You may think your life is full of excitement and glamor. You may be flying on a private jet to Cannes to see the latest Scorsese movie “Old Mob Guys Kill People”. You may be eating Alpaca livers with the Rolling Stones in Ibiza. You may be drinking a magnum of La Grande Dame, Veuve Clicquot as both of your dates snort cocaine off of the stomach of a member of the British royal Family. But none of that would be remotely as cool as how I spent my week, for I was in Washington DC, at an insurance conference!

I attended the annual conference of NABIP, the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals for several reasons. Obviously, there was the bewitching charm of all things insurance. But I also wanted to figure out what needs to happen to get medical marijuana covered by insurance.

I always enjoy it when people approach me on the street and tell me that the Pennsylvania medical cannabis law I passed in 2016 has really helped them. It certainly beats when people approach me and ask me if I’m Randy Quaid (spoiler alert: I’m not).

However, not every encounter is entirely positive. Through the years, numerous people have confronted me with versions of “It’s great that we can get cannabis now, but it’s too freakin’ expensive. I can’t afford it”. Some people accuse me of being “on the take” from “big cannabis” (if only!). That’s heartbreaking to hear, but this situation does meld nicely with my propensity to shift the blame for everything from myself to others, because in this case, it really is not my fault.

The fact is that medicine is expensive. I am currently on several prescriptions, mostly involving efforts to control my cholesterol and making my face more “tolerable”. These drugs cost a lot each month and would be difficult for most people to afford if they had to pay for them out of pocket. But luckily, the health insurance I receive for life because of my time in the senate (thank you taxpayers!) covers the cost of everything except a small co-pay. This is how most people pay for the medical care they need.

The problem is health insurance does not, and in fact can not pay for medical cannabis. This is bad, and in my case, since I’m a…

Daylin Leach

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!