Consideration of Maintaining a Medical Card Post-Legalization of Recreational Cannabis

Consideration of Maintaining a Medical Card Post-Legalization of Recreational Cannabis

The legalization of cannabis has been a controversial topic for many years, with some states embracing its medicinal properties while others remain staunchly opposed. However, in recent years, more and more states have started to legalize cannabis for medical use. While the process of legalization can take years, the launch of medical cannabis programs is often the first step towards legalization.

For many patients, the launch of medical cannabis programs is a welcome change, as it offers them a new treatment option for their condition. However, it can take some time for patients to be able to purchase medical marijuana after the laws are ratified. Despite this delay, medical cannabis programs see high enrollment rates, and if successful, some states may move ahead to consider legalizing non-medical use.

The legalization of recreational marijuana is often referred to as adult use. It allows any state resident over the age of twenty-one (21) years to purchase marijuana products at a licensed dispensary. While this may seem appealing to many patients, there are still significant benefits to having a medical cannabis card.

Firstly, having a medical cannabis card provides access to specialized medical-only cannabis products that may have higher potency than what is allowed for recreational use. Secondly, patients with a medical card can save money by being exempt from excise taxes that are imposed on recreational marijuana products. Thirdly, they have access to higher purchase limits at licensed dispensaries and lower age restrictions.

Fourthly, pediatric patients facing debilitating health conditions such as cancer or epilepsy can receive treatment with medical cannabis under doctor supervision three years earlier than recreational marijuana users. Fifthly, patients with a medical card have more legal protections in and out of state through reciprocity agreements and temporary “tourist” cannabis cards.

Sixthly, they have access to professional medical guidance and advice from specialized marijuana doctors who can provide customized care based on their condition(s). Seventhly, they receive monitoring for conflicts and symptom changes that may arise due to the use of medical cannabis. And finally, they have purchase priority for registered patients during times of high demand.

When considering whether to keep their medical cannabis card after the legalization of recreational use, patients should weigh the benefits against the expense of keeping it. While there is an annual fee for remaining on the patient registry and paying for annual appointments, the tax exemptions and lower-priced medical marijuana can save patients money in the long run. Additionally, renewing a medical cannabis card is easier and less expensive than going through the application process again after allowing their card to expire.

In conclusion, while the launch of medical cannabis programs is often just the first step towards legalization, there are significant benefits to having a medical cannabis card. Patients have access to specialized products, tax exemptions, higher purchase limits, pediatric care, legal protections and more. As such, many patients choose to remain in the patient registry even after recreational marijuana has been legalized in their state.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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