Should I Still Get a Medical Marijuana Card if Cannabis is Recreationally Legal in my State?

If a medical patient lives in a state where cannabis is legal recreationally, they may have some questions. These questions may include whether or not it is advantageous to hold a valid MMJ card. This is especially important considering the costs of renewal fees, doctor visits, application fees, and other charges.

While it is a valid concern and is one that’s worth digging a little bit deeper into, there are several essential things to consider before making a decision.

In this article, the crucial things to be considered before getting rid of an MMJ card will be discussed and examined.

This article will also answer the question:  “Would I renew my medical marijuana card if cannabis is recreationally legal?” It may be surprising to some individuals the advantages an MMJ card can afford over the long term.


Is It Cheaper to Buy Medical Marijuana or Recreational Marijuana?

Of course, one of the main things that medical marijuana cardholders want to know is whether it’s more cost-effective for them to use their MMJ card to buy cannabis or to buy it from a recreational dispensary.

The most significant financial disadvantage of the medical card is that cardholders must renew it every year, which can cost anywhere up to $200 after including the application fee, doctor consultation fee(s), etc.

Whether this initial expense is worth it will depend on how much cannabis a person uses. In comparison with buying recreationally, cannabis users may experience substantial savings. However, if annual cannabis use is minimal, the savings may not outweigh the expense of getting the card.

Do Medical Marijuana Patients Get Better Cannabis than Recreational Customers?

Perhaps a more critical factor to consider in terms of whether to use an MMJ card or buy recreationally is what’s available to the medical customers. Even in states where legalization is fully recreational, some products are still only available to MMJ cardholders that have a specific doctor’s recommendation.

For example, while marijuana buds are more or less standard across both medical and recreational users, there can be significant differences in product potency concerning concentrates like wax and shatter.

Again, using California as an example, medical cardholders are allowed to purchase concentrates (which includes oils, waxes, shatters, butters, crumbles, etc.) that have 1,000 mg of THC per package. In comparison, recreational consumers only have access to 500 mg of THC per package.

Depending on the medical condition, this can make a difference in terms of the quality a consumer receives. In fact, with the extremely potent act of dabbing becoming more and more popular among medical users, many patients are looking for the most reliable, most potent concentrates available. And of course, these are only available if a patient has a valid MMJ card.

Can You Buy More Cannabis if You Have a Medical Marijuana Card?

Another thing to consider is that (in many states, at least) a consumer can buy more marijuana at any one time if they qualify as a medical patient rather than just a recreational user.

California MMJ cardholders, for instance, can buy up to 8 ounces of cannabis per day, while recreational users can only buy 1 ounce per day. This can be a significant advantage for a couple of different reasons.

For one, if a medical patient uses a lot of cannabis and doesn’t live near a quality dispensary, it could save them significant time (and money) by not having to drive into town when they need to restock their medicinal supply.

Can You Smoke in Public with a Medical Marijuana Card?

Yet another advantage that medical cannabis users have over recreational users is that, at least in most states, there are laws that allow MMJ users to smoke (or otherwise consume) cannabis in public.

While some states are more lenient than others in terms of enforcing their “no cannabis use in public” laws, the fact is that individuals are not allowed to consume cannabis in any form in a public setting — just like drinking alcohol. However, if a user has a valid MMJ card, some states will allow consumption in a location that is open to the public.

Can You Cross State Lines with Medical Marijuana?

Although marijuana is not a federally regulated substance, federal law gives states leeway to decide how to manage and legislate marijuana use. Since laws vary from state to state, consumers should thoroughly research the laws of any state in which they wish to travel.

Some state laws allow for travel with marijuana as long as a patient can display an active MMJ card. Therefore, an MMJ card may serve as an extra layer of protection.

However, MMJ cardholders should be mindful that some states may have restrictions on the amount of cannabis that they can travel with, even if they can prove they have a valid medical marijuana card.

Final Thoughts on Whether It’s Better to Buy Medical Marijuana or Recreational Marijuana

All in all, whether or not it’s worth it for a patient to obtain an MMJ card and renew it yearly will depend on a few different things. The most salient point is how much cannabis a patient uses annually. If a patient consumes an ounce or more per month, it will likely be in their best financial interest to hold onto the medical card, rather than buying recreationally.

Also, a medical card will typically allow access to the most potent cannabis available, as well as extremely potent concentrate options.

For patients that suffer from severe medical conditions (like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, etc.), this can make all the difference in the world in terms of the quality of therapy that’s available.

Even if marijuana has become fully recreationally legal in the state where a person resides, it may be well worth it to keep an MMJ card, at least for the time being.

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