By Vincent Palazzotto | June 30, 2011 The Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA) and supporters recently led the way in assisting low-income patients to save an estimated $20 million over the next five years. MMAPA - with the help of Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, and advocate Jill Lamoureux - took the fight for sick indigent patients to the Colorado health board and the Legislature, winning a waiver on state medical marijuana registry fees for patients whose income is at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. The new standard will take effect July 1, 2011. Sen. Steadman explains that while legislation crafted to regulate the medical cannabis industry was not perfect, the waiver for indigent patients should be considered a victory for the community. "I know that House Bill 1043 was a mixed bag for the MMJ community, but one of the bright spots in the bill was a provision defining indigence at 185 percent of the federal poverty level," said Steadman. "Setting this definition in statute will help protect low-income patients access to their medicine." Advocates estimate that indigent patients will save $20 million over the next five years when taking into consideration the $90 waiver on state medical marijuana registration fees, and a waiver on paying state sales tax on medical marijuana purchases. An estimated 27,000 patients of the soon-to-be 150,000-patient medical marijuana registry will be eligible for the state waivers. In the first year alone, indigent patients will save an estimated $2.4 million on state registration fees; that savings will balloon to more than $15 million after five years when anticipating the registry's growth. Add a waiver on state sales tax for sick, indigent patients, and the savings climbs to over $20 million after five years. "This was for the people and citizens of Colorado who are most in need," stated Vincent Palazzotto, founder of MMAPA, a Denver-based group that assists low-income medical marijuana patients. "Our organization will stay focused on making sure that all patients are taken care of." About the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA): Founded in 2009 by Vincent Palazzotto, MMAPA is the nation's first alternative medicine Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) serving indigent patients across Colorado. The medical marijuana (MMJ) community and patient advocacy groups have recognized it as the only group in America serving the needs of MMJ patients and focusing the debate where it should be - on the patients themselves. In addition to advocacy and outreach, MMAPA also has a mobile doctors unit that brings doctors directly to patients. MMAPA's mission is to ensure indigent patients have access to affordable alternative and traditional treatments and medicines across the nation. Through its qualified network of providers and caregivers, MMAPA provides low-cost MMJ evaluations, and up to 50 percent off medications and services such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, nutritionists, and naturopathic physicians. MMAPA is strongly supported throughout the MMJ community, bringing a grassroots campaign to the forefront of the medical marijuana/cannabis industry. For more information, visit the MMAPA website.