Medical marijuana has been a part of life in California for over the past two decades. But now that the state has legalized the leaf for recreational use, adults 21 and over can simply walk into their local dispensary and purchase a variety of pot products without a medical marijuana ID. But while it is no longer necessary for a person to make up a phony excuse to get a doctor to provide them with a recommendation to smoke weed, this doesn’t mean there are not still some benefits to being a medical marijuana patient.
Availability is still a concern in some areas. This is because not every municipality in California is onboard with all of this recreational marijuana business. In fact, more than 300 cities have opted out of the commercial cannabis scene. There are actually more jurisdictions statewide that allow medical marijuana dispensaries than retail fronts for the recreational side.
Beyond that, the state’s medical marijuana program allows patients the freedom to keep higher possession limits and places fewer restrictions on purchase limits. Patients also do not have to wait until they are 21-year-ol to take advantage of medical marijuana. This sector is open to anyone 18 and older. Furthermore, in some parts of the state, patients are even allowed to grow more cannabis at home for personal use.
Although it is easier now to procure pot, as it is available for sale throughout California in a manner similar to alcohol, the medicinal side is still the only way to avoid paying taxes. A recent report from NuggMD indicates that going through the process of actually getting on the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) program is one of the smartest ways to buy weed in the state.
“Most people just go for a marijuana recommendation and never bother with a MMIC since it doesn’t require state registration (sharing personal info scares some),” the article reads. “However, a MMIC is the only way to get a sales tax exemption.”
But enjoy medical marijuana while it lasts. These programs are struggling to survive in states that have taken it up a notch by welcoming in a recreational sector. It seems that fewer people are concerned about saving a few bucks on taxes and have become more enthusiastic about the convenience and product selection available through retail outlets.
The biggest decline in medical marijuana sales has happened in Oregon. The state has experienced a 42 percent decline since recreational sales began in 2015. In Nevada, which has only been selling weed on the recreational side for a little over a year, patient numbers have dropped 32 percent. In Colorado, the first state to go fully legal – it is much of the same. Medical marijuana patient numbers have fallen 22 percent.
Although there are some benefits to frequenting the medical marijuana market, recreational sales will eventually take over. As The Fresh Toast pointed out in a recent article, “although “medical marijuana” was how legalization was originally packaged, it is now on its last leg.” All it will take is for the U.S. government to end prohibition nationwide and medical marijuana will become nothing more than a footnote in the history books.