lex is 34 and lives outside of Sacramento. Like many Californians, he vapes marijuana concentrate for a variety of health problems such as anxiety. But even though he lives within a half-hour drive of a legal dispensary, Alex purchases his cannabis on what he likes to call the “duty-free” market. About once a month, he drives an hour to an acquaintance’s house to purchase about an ounce of concentrate, for about half of what he would pay at a state-certified recreational dispensary.

There’s a reason Alex buys on the black market. He’s a disabled military veteran.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project just under 2 million Californians, or around 3.4 percent of the state’s population, get prescriptions for medical marijuana each year. But because of federal drug laws that still consider marijuana to be as dangerous as heroin, the Department of Veterans Affairs will not prescribe marijuana to its patients, even if…

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