As more and more states catch the wave of legalization, a new question starts to rise up along the shoreline: does it still make sense to have medical cannabis laws in places where recreational marijuana is legal? Or will recreational legalization make medical marijuana a thing of the past?
The question is indeed logical, but let’s not to jump to any conclusions before analyzing what’s at stake when it comes to medical cannabis. Though it does make sense to assume that recreational laws would encompass all of the cases that involve medical cannabis consumption, this is not necessarily the case.
The legal and judicial system usually works as a delayed mirror of a society’s moral code: The general population’s ethics vary and mutate in a dynamic fashion, setting the ground for changes in the law, which are meant to adapt to the ever-changing beliefs of the vast majority, or at least, to those of the political majority.
In this particular case, recreational weed laws are being created to make up for the fact that people like weed and they’re going to keep on having it whether it’s banned or not. So, for those consumers who are buying cannabis through medical laws, but are actually taking it for purely recreational purposes, recreational laws are going to fit like a glove, and help them save a lot of the hassle associated with getting a medical marijuana card.
But, for the many cases in which cannabis is being used for purely medicinal purposes, medical cannabis laws should still abide, because they guarantee certain benefits that protect the patient’s interests.
Although laws will vary from state to state, here are some general principles that support the existence of medical cannabis in places where recreational weed laws are being passed:
Who’s Allowed To Buy It
To be able to obtain weed legally, rec users must be at least 21 years old in all of the states where recreational weed has been legalized. However, many states allow for 18 year-olds and above to obtain a medical marijuana card, and even act as caregivers for under-age medical marijuana patients. Though the use of medical cannabis in pediatrics is still under research, CBD has been proven effective in treating epileptic seizures and other related disorders in children.
The fact federal law still considers cannabis to be an illegal substance, prevents cannabis products to be covered by health insurance. However, medical marijuana patients can still benefit from lower prices due to reduced tax rates. In some cases, like Nevada for instance, medical marijuana patients only pay 8,25% on taxes as opposed to the 18,25% paid by rec users. There are some taxes which are included in every retail price, like cultivation tax, but still, a 10% difference can be of great help for people using cannabis derivatives to treat serious conditions like cancer and PTSD.
Amount and Potency
Again varying from state to state, the general rule goes to favor medical users when it comes to how much weed they’re allowed to buy and how strong it will be. In California for instance, medical users are allowed to get up to 8 ounces a day, as opposed to the one ounce permitted to recreational users. Also, medical patients can get double the THC concentration in some forms of cannabis such as oils and waxes.
Where To Light Up
The US law remains firmly against any kind of public marijuana smoking be it recreational or medical. However, some provinces and cities in Canada are being more open towards the medical smoke. In any case, though the issue of public smoking in Canada is still not quite clear, we can expect law enforcing agents to be more tolerant of medical smokers who need a hit but don’t have the time to return home for it.
In the states where both recreational and medical cannabis have been legalized, and home cultivation is allowed, medical users and their caregivers are usually permitted to grow a larger amount of plants.
To sum up, although the existence of recreational weed laws is vital for the proper regulation of this ever-growing market, medical marijuana laws remain valid and useful to protect the interests of the people who need it the most.