In 2012, recreational marijuana was only available in Washington and Colorado. Up until then, only people that suffered from a specific, qualifying condition were approved for the use of medical marijuana (in certain states.) Since then, only a few states have opened up to recreational marijuana, but dozens of states are now coming around to approving the use of medical marijuana. This has left many of us wondering, what sets medical and recreational marijuana apart?
Besides the obvious, which is consumer intention (are they looking to treat symptoms of an illness, or are they just looking to get high,) what are the other differences that exist between the two forms?
The shopping experience is actually quite similar, although there are a few differences when it comes to the details.
Medical marijuana card holders must not only bring ID that proves they’re old enough, but also have their medical marijuana card with them. Recreational pot users only need a valid form of ID, like a drivers license, to show that they’re old enough. Now, if you’re a medical marijuana card holder in a state where recreational use has been legalized, you’ll still want to bring your card with you as some recreational shops will give special discounts to medical marijuana card holders.
Medical dispensaries and dual-licensed shops are typically better equipped to answer questions, whereas recreational shop bud tenders may not be able to help you. This is widely due to the fact that many recreational shops are actually not allowed to give medical advice, however, they are usually able to cater to the needs of both recreational users, and medical users.
When it comes to the selection of product available, there is very little difference between the two. Both types of shops will usually have oils, edibles, salves, lotions, etc… Depending on what state you’re in, you may or may not have the option to purchase flower.
Special Perks (Depending on your State)
Depending on the sate you live in, medical patients may receive special perks. These might include:
- lower costs
- reduced taxes
- higher THC potency
- higher quantity restrictions
- access for minors (with a card)
- permission to grow their own marijuana at home
Recreational marijuana has somewhat of a stigma attached to it. Way more people support medical marijuana than they do recreational. It’s only a matter of time, however, before state laws reflect the acceptance of recreational pot as well.
Recreational marijuana opens the door for people that aren’t necessarily suffering from one of the qualifying conditions. A new consumer, who would have never been able to try marijuana otherwise, lives in a state where recreational pot was just legalized. He now realizes that he has full access, and ends up purchasing some edibles. While he might have originally purchased product for recreational purposes, he now realizes that the edibles he bought really help him relax from daily stress and anxiety.
He tells someone else of his experience. This person heads to the dispensary to see if marijuana will help ease their stress, lack of appetite, pain, etc...
When it comes down to it, medical and recreational product is the same. The biggest difference, is why you’re choosing to use it.
It’s only a matter of time before recreational use is legalized in all 50 states. As long as you’re an adult that uses it responsibly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have access to it.