As of today, recreational marijuana is already legal in 23 states plus the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. In addition to that, medical marijuana is legal in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories.
Given how widespread legal cannabis is, particularly recreational marijuana, many still wonder if it’s worth getting a medical marijuana card even if you live in a state where recreational pot is legal. However, it’s important to keep in mind that each state has varying laws when it comes to cannabis use. It can be confusing to navigate the legalities involved when you have access to both recreational and medical marijuana. Often, most recreational consumers just bypass getting a card to walk into a dispensary and buy what they need.
Medical Marijuana Is Cheaper Than Recreational Marijuana
If money is an issue, then it’s definitely worth getting a medical marijuana card. Legal recreational cannabis can easily burn through your savings, especially if you have a high tolerance and consume a lot more than the average person.
Adult use or recreational cannabis costs more than medical marijuana because they are usually priced with two or three more layers of taxes on top of the actual cost. Of course, the costs and taxes will vary depending on the state and its cannabis regulations, but some states tax weed based on the potency of its THC content, the kind of product, and how much weed you buy. Depending on where you’re located, recreational weed can usually cost 20 up to 30% more than medical marijuana.
Having a medical marijuana card can save you a hefty amount of cash, usually resulting in hundreds of dollars saved each year.
Higher Possession and Consumption Limit
Medical marijuana patients can buy and consume more weed legally compared to recreational cannabis users, at least for most of the states where marijuana is legal. In fact, there are still some states that prohibit recreational cannabis use completely.
Possession limits vary, though purchases and possessions are usually between an ounce to 2.5 ounces per day. Generally, medical marijuana patients can legally own as much as a 60-day supply of weed, ensuring that they have enough at all times for their condition, according to their physician. However, possession and consumption limits will also depend on what the recommended amount in the certification indicates. If you have medical marijuana needs, be sure to talk to your physician and let them know if the recommended amount isn’t enough.
Keep in mind that it is never advisable to possess over 3 ounces of cannabis flower at any given time. If you have been caught exceeding the possession limits of your state, you can face the risk of criminal charges.
Frequent travelers can enjoy the legal benefits of reciprocity, a law that allows visiting medical marijuana patients to easily obtain weed while in a legal state as long as they bring their valid medical marijuana card. Some states that practice the reciprocity law include Hawaii, Nevada, Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island among others. Washington DC also has reciprocity although it only pertains to terminally ill patients.
Be sure to check the reciprocity laws of states you may be traveling to. Some states will allow medical marijuana patients to both possess and purchase their medicine, while others will only allow possession or purchase.
It’s still illegal to cross state lines carrying cannabis with you. Instead, possessing a medical card will enable you to legally get your supply at another state.
Medical marijuana patients are given access and priority to much more potent marijuana. This is one of the biggest benefits of having a card, especially if you have developed a very high tolerance to THC already. For example, in California, recreational topicals contain 1000mg of THC but those designed for medical patients contain twice the amount.
Adult-use consumers may have to purchase more cannabis to enjoy higher THC intake, which can also increase costs. On the other hand, if you have a medical marijuana card, you can save simply by buying a smaller amount of a higher-dose product. Concentrates, edibles, and other high-potency products will typically be more available in higher doses for patients, and it isn’t uncommon to see these products contain as much as 90% THC.
Again, what’s available to you as a medical marijuana patient will always depend on the state law.
Obtain Supply From Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Many licensed cannabis dispensaries only cater to medical marijuana patients. In these exclusive dispensaries, you can access a wider range of specialized marijuana products, not just limited to stronger potency THC. In addition to that, the staff hired at medical marijuana dispensaries have usually undergone better training to provide adequate services that medical patients need.
In other words, medical dispensaries are a cut above the rest for cannabis enthusiasts.
Last but not least, legal protections are an important benefit of possessing a medical marijuana card. This is especially significant if you live in a state where adult use is still illegal.
Should you be approached or stopped by law enforcement any time, you won’t have to worry about the risk of legal consequences as long as you possess or consume within the limits. A medical card will always protect you from costly and harsh penalties.
For many recreational cannabis consumers, the benefits of having a medical marijuana card is still underrated. Now that you understand the benefits, you may want to consider getting one for yourself in the near future.