Despite marijuana still being classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the Federal Government, more and more states are recognizing the medicinal benefits of this substance in helping treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It has also shown potential for providing relief from chronic pain.
As a result, most states have now partially legalized marijuana, recognizing its potential use as a form of medication. Residents can get a marijuana card after a consultation with a medical professional who will need to diagnose their condition.
Some states, like Massachusetts, have legalized the recreational consumption of marijuana, which allows any adult to procure, and to a limited extent, grow marijuana for personal consumption. Given its fully legal nature, getting a marijuana card in Massachusetts might seem redundant. This article will highlight why this is not the case and why a marijuana card can be useful for a resident of Massachusetts, especially one using the substance as a form of medication.
Medicinal Marijuana Is Cheaper
f you are buying cannabis from a recreational dispensary, this product is subject to several different taxes, from a sales tax of 6.25 percent to a state excise tax of 10.75 percent. In comparison, Massachusetts medical marijuana card holders are exempt from paying taxes, and all their money is used solely on the product. You can save 20 percent on each purchase with a medical card.
Getting a marijuana card is also easier than ever. It previously required going to the hospital to get a consultation with a specialist and could therefore be prohibitive in costs. Today there are services through which you can book an inexpensive online consultation with a professional, with the entire process only taking a few hours.
Possession Limits Are Higher
As a recreational user, the maximum amount of cannabis you can get from a single purchase is one ounce. There are further limitations on cannabis paraphernalia, such as individual edibles limited to a dosage of 5mg of THC and any total purchase limited to 100mg.
As a medical marijuana card holder in Massachusetts, you can purchase 10 ounces or sixty days’ worth of medical marijuana in one go. Further, there is no limit on the dosage amount of an edible, so one gummy can have as much as 100 mg of THC.
Instead of making round trips to your dispensary every other week, you can purchase in bulk with a medical marijuana card.
Higher Growing Limits
An adult recreational user can grow up to six plants of marijuana at a time. For users with a medical card, this limit is more than twice as high at twelve watering and twelve vegetative plants.
Additionally, according to the new law, medical card holders can apply for hardship cultivation registration. It allows these users to grow enough plants to meet a sixty-day supply if they have a financial hardship or cannot travel to a marijuana treatment center due to physical incapacity or living far away.
Higher growing limits enable medical marijuana users to be more self-sufficient than recreational ones, whose supply of cannabis will be more dependent on the ebb and flow of the market and surges and dips in demand and supply.
Greater Legal Protection
While the consumption of marijuana may be legal in Massachusetts, this does not prevent employers from terminating their employees for off-duty drug consumption. If your marijuana consumption is entirely recreational, it is impossible to challenge the legality of this termination, and it can result in you being denied to notice payment and access to unemployment benefits.
Recent rulings in the Massachusetts Supreme Court have challenged the employers’ right concerning terminating employees whose use is medical. In Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, the court held that the companies should be more permissive of marijuana use when it is done for medical treatment and should not have a zero-tolerance policy. It has been accompanied by a greater acceptance of marijuana as a means of treating health conditions, which has increased the permissibility of medical use of marijuana amongst employers.
You Get Preference at Dispensaries
With a medical marijuana card, you can access medical marijuana dispensaries closed off to the rest of the market. These guarantee a steady source of supply even when the rest of the market may be experiencing a shortage of products.
Medical dispensaries are also usually afforded more legal protection than recreational ones. During the height of the pandemic, Governor Charlie Baker closed all recreational dispensaries due to the influx of out-of-state visitors they brought to Massachusetts. Recognizing its importance as a use of medicine, this forced closure did not apply to medical dispensaries, which became the only source to purchase legal weed in the state for about a year.
Additionally, there are laws in Massachusetts that require all dispensaries to reserve 35 percent of their medical-quality weed specifically for cardholders. Even if you buy from the general market, you can feel more secure in a steady supply than recreational users, who have no protections.
For Consumption Across State Lines
If you are a resident of Massachusetts reliant on the recreational laws of your state, any travel outside of this territory will present new challenges to your consumption patterns. If you go to a state with only partial legalization, medical dispensaries will be closed off to you. The only place you can buy is through illegal dealers, which can lead to you being in trouble with the law and consuming marijuana that is of suspect quality.
You can use a medical marijuana card from Massachusetts to purchase from any dispensary in a state with partial legalization that has a policy of medical marijuana reciprocity. Many of Massachusetts’s neighboring states, like Rhode Island, follow this policy. It allows you constant access to legal cannabis, irrespective of your location.
Societal attitudes toward marijuana are changing as more young adults consume marijuana today than ever before. There is a general recognition of its medicinal properties, and the taboo associated with the substance and its users is also slowly dying. Despite this, even in the most progressive states, there are limitations placed on recreational use that do not exist for medicinal purposes. If you reside in Massachusetts and have a medical condition that could be helped with marijuana use, we highly recommend getting a medical marijuana card.