Many of us wonder what is the point of getting a medical card when the recreational use of marijuana is already legalized by a state. The marijuana plant has medicinal qualities which help in a large number of medical conditions ranging from chronic pain to cancer. Due to these qualities, over 2/3 of the states in the US have legalized the use of different chemicals obtained from the plant to help patients manage their medical conditions. Some of these states have legalized recreational use as well. It means that any adult over the age of 21 can use marijuana even without a medical purpose. It is always advisable To get certified for medical use. Here are some of the benefits of doing so:
1) Better prices
When you buy products at dispensaries, you have to pay a significant amount of taxes. These include the sales tax and excise tax on cannabis products. Depending on the state, these taxes range from 10% to 35%. Medical users are either completely exempted from these taxes or the amount of taxes is significantly lower. For instance, medical users in California are exempted from all sales and use taxes. Spending some money on getting a card is definitely worth it because ultimately it will save you a lot more than that. Note that to avail these benefits you are required to have a state-issued medical marijuana card. Only the doctor’s recommendation is not enough.
2) High-quality products
Medical dispensaries are required to sell quality products to customers. These dispensaries only sell tested and licensed products. Recreational dispensaries are not required to fulfill these conditions. If you are conscious about quality, it is better to have a medical card. In addition to that, medical users are also able to get products of higher potency. Potency limits for recreational users are much lower.
Moreover, medical users are always a priority for dispensaries. If they have limited stock available, they always give preference to medical users over recreational users.
3) Buy and carry more products
Medical users are entitled to buy more at a time. They are also allowed to carry more. Recreational users on the other hand can buy much less at a time. If you have the card, you will be able to buy more at one go and save a lot of dispensary visits. With gas prices high, this is not a bad deal at all.
4) Employment protection
Employment protection is important for a lot of patients using medical marijuana. Medical users are protected against discrimination on the basis of using marijuana although it strongly depends upon the concerned state. Many states have laws which protects employees who have a state-issued medical card from being discriminated against.
The only condition is that the employees should have proper documentation and should come to work under the influence of the drug. A number of states do not have laws for it and they allow employers to fire or not hire people using the drug. The best practice is to consult a qualified attorney regarding the issue. That said, employees who have a medical card are often on the safer side and enjoy more protection.
5) Traveling out-of-state
Many states in the U.S. allow out-of-state patients to buy products if they have a card from their own state. Some of these states do not allow recreational use and only medical users can enjoy the reciprocity offered. If you travel to different states, it is better to have a medical card. If you go to a state which doesn’t allow using marijuana at all and you’re caught with using it, you will have a higher chance of getting away with it if you have a state-issued medical card.
6) Home grow rights
Most of the states allow patients to grow marijuana at home. Among these states, only a few allow both medical and recreational users to grow. Recreational users can grow less as compared to medical users. For example, medical users in California can grow upto 12 plants while recreational users can grow only upto 6. Most of the states which have legalized marijuana allow only medical users to grow at home.
7) Necessary for under-21 patients
To be a recreational user you have to be 21 years old. Patients younger than 21 years and needing marijuana can only use products if they have a medical card. Patients younger than 18 have to designate a caregiver for them.
Getting a medical card is a lot easier than most people think. Telemedicine platforms have made the whole process quite simple. All you have to do is to set an appointment with a physician. The physician must be licensed in the state for which you are getting the card. In the next step, you talk to the doctor over a phone call or video chat. The doctor evaluates your medical conditions and if he is satisfied, he issues you a recommendation. This recommendation can be used to register with the state and get your medical marijuana card.
Different states have different application processes. All the states have a dedicated website on which patients can register to get their card. You have to search for the state’s website and submit the required documents. The most common requirements are a physician’s recommendation, a proof of residency and proof of identity. A state-issued ID, driver’s license or a utility bill can be used as a proof of residency. Caregivers for minor patients can also register themselves. In some cases, your doctor has to register you on the state’s website before you can continue the application. Every state website has a detailed FAQ section which can be read to understand the process well. After the documents are submitted, you have to submit the state fee for your card. This fee varies from state to state. For example, Oklahoma charges $100, Ohio charges $50 and New York charges no fee. After the fee is submitted, the state reviews your application and provides you the medical card. In most cases, a state sends you a temporary card to use before the regular card arrives.
Medical marijuana is used by numerous people across the country in order to cope up with their medical conditions. It is always more beneficial to get approved by a doctor for medical use of the drug. In states where recreational use is allowed, medical card still has a lot of benefits including cheaper prices, legal protection and right to grow. Getting yourself approved for using medical marijuana and getting a card is easier than ever. If you are in need of using the products, you should not delay starting the process anymore. Given the points discussed above, getting a medical is absolutely worth the money spent on it.