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Legalization of Recreational Cannabis and its Effect on Medicinal Cannabis

21 July 2022 / Category: Blog
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Cannabis is the most widely used mind-altering drug. Its legal status is evolving regularly and varies from state to state. The legalization and decriminalization of cannabis for recreational use can bring increased tax revenue for the state, job growth, and investment opportunities, not to mention the ability to reallocate public resources directed towards the criminalization of these substances.

With Connecticut and New Jersey among the most recent states to announce the establishment of recreational cannabis dispensaries this year, the legalization of recreational cannabis is rapidly gaining ground. As it becomes more widely available and eventually leads to the legalization of recreational goods, the advantages of medicinal cannabis use may be overshadowed by those of recreational use.

What is the Difference Between Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis?

It’s crucial to understand the distinctions between the two cannabis varieties because they are both becoming increasingly widespread and available. THC, or cannabis used for recreational purposes, is a molecule that binds to receptors in the brain that regulate several emotions, including pain and mood. In contrast, CBD would affect endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.

THC is the main component in medical cannabis, which is used to treat a variety of conditions including nausea, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain. For medical purposes, CBD, is frequently used to treat conditions like arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and diabetes among others.

Gregory Carter, MD, MS, a doctor at Providence Medical Center in Spokane, Washington says, “The main difference between medical and recreational use is the end desired result and how it is consumed.” “Medical users seek relief from a symptom and would typically use edibles…whereas recreational users often will smoke with the end result of getting high [or intoxication].”

The cost to the consumer may be less when using with a prescription. For one, with the legalization some health insurance companies have begun covering medical cannabis much like they would any other prescription. Additionally, there are also differences in the taxes you pay. Tax rates will likely vary widely between medical and recreational uses and by state. For example, some products in CO have taxes that are 25% less when purchased medically versus recreationally.

States with recreational use legalized would increase the accessibility overall, which means the products available to everyone broadens, both with the number of facilities open in their area and the products that are sold.

In Terms of Quality

The quality of cannabis production used for recreational purposes versus medical purposes is very different. While the growing procedure for both varieties of cannabis is the same, distinctions in production and cultivation are starting to show. Before it is made available for consumption, cannabis intended for medical purposes goes through a more stringent and controlled process.

Another difference in the finished product is the use of pesticides, which are much more strictly controlled for medicinal cannabis in anticipation for patient ingestion. Medical marijuana has often been labeled as the safer option compared to recreational use cannabis, because of the care taken in its growing and processing.

The Product Option

Depending on the state you reside in, there may be different products available for medicinal consumers compared to that of recreational ones. Due to the therapeutic benefit of some products, medical card holders occasionally do have access to a wider selection of dispensary goods. This is due to the possibility that people with specific medical issues may need stronger goods and other consumption techniques.

Recreational legalization widens the scope and allows for more dispensaries to open, making it more available to those using it for medical use. In addition, it gives some ability for self-medicating in cases when those who may qualify for medical use would like to keep use of the substance off their medical records.

A medical marijuana card allows potential for employee protections down the line but since the substance is still federally illegal there is no true protection currently, including claims of discrimination. You can still rightfully be terminated for a positive drug test and there are several jobs that would likely be protected by no-tolerance laws even in the case of federal legalization.

Some of the reasons cited by those who oppose recreational use being legalized include the effect on society or the danger of the drug itself, but as we’ve covered the legalization of recreational use does influence medicinal use. Regardless of your stance, all legal cannabis businesses deserve to be properly insured, and this begins with a well-educated insurance agent.

Cover Cannabis has grown with the Cannabis industry in the United States, from early medicinal use to the expansion and legalization of recreational use in multiple states. Call 833-819-5010 to speak with a seasoned insurance professional today.