All across the United States, millions of people are enjoying convenient and legal access to cannabis. In most instances, legalization of recreational pot has also brought about new legislation for home growers. Where recreational cannabis is legal, it’s also (typically) legal to sprout your own seeds and grow your own cannabis at home.
Hence, it’s hardly surprising that so many are asking this exact question. If it’s easy and legal to purchase recreational pot from an extensive network of dispensaries, is there really any point getting a medical cannabis card? Given the time and effort it takes to qualify for and obtain a medical pot permit, are there any real benefits to doing so?
The answer depends on a handful of factors, but there are still some advantages to carrying a medical cannabis card in the U.S..
Why Should I Get a Medical Cannabis Card?
For one thing, it’s worth considering the potential financial benefits of being a medical cannabis patient. Exactly how much you stand to save will vary from one state and jurisdiction to the next, but most medical cannabis sales are exempt from taxation. If you were to purchase medical cannabis in Sacramento, for example, you would save the 8.25% tax on every purchase. If you buy a lot of cannabis, this could add up to a pretty decent long-term saving.
As a general rule of thumb, medical cannabis tends to be significantly cheaper than recreational cannabis. At least, when comparing two batches of the same high-quality bud like for like. The medical cannabis system exists to make it as easy and affordable as possible for patients to access pot, which can add up to considerable savings for qualifying patients.
A Question of Quality
Speaking of quality, licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are required by law to stock and sell only the highest-quality cannabis money can buy. Medical pot has to go through the most incredibly stringent checks and quality assurance tests, before making its way onto dispensary shelves.
With the typical recreational cannabis dispensary, it isn’t quite the same story. Quality checks and verifications are mandatory, but aren’t nearly as strict as those that apply to medical cannabis. You can find top-shelf cannabis on sale at most decent dispensaries, but it may also appear alongside lower-grad bud. Plus, if you do go for the top-shelf stuff, you’ll pay far more for it than a qualifying patient at a medical cannabis dispensary.
Higher Purchase Limits
This again varies from one jurisdiction to the next, but nonetheless rings true in most pro-pot states. Ultimately, it is up to your physician to determine how much medical cannabis you need per month. If this vastly exceeds what you would be able to legally buy at a recreational dispensary, so be it.
Some medical cannabis patients require sizeable quantities on a regular basis, which would be impossible to obtain legally without a medical cannabis card.
Access to Medical Advice
Last up, it’s also worth remembering that recreational cannabis stores are prohibited by law from offering anything that may constitute medical advice. It’s a rule that’s often ignored, but one that exists for a reason. After all, what are the chances of the budtender you’re talking to having the experience and expertise needed to advise on the treatment of your medical condition?
One of the biggest advantages of carrying a medical cannabis card is being able to access specialist support and advice for free. Licensed pharmacists aren’t typically in the habit of advising the average stoner on what to smoke - they prefer to spend their time helping approved cannabis patients.