Recreational Legalization Harms Medical Marijuana Sales
Marijuana supporters may applaud efforts to fully lift prohibition at a state and federal level, but they could not have anticipated the ramifications of those actions.
Despite the fact the recreational marijuana makes it easily accessible by all, it has devastating effects on the medical market. Historically, according to the Tampa Bay Times, marijuana legalization caused people to leave the medical realm in droves.
This is a serious concern for medical dispensaries and patients alike, as the fallout affects a lot of critical areas.
Significant Losses for Medical Marijuana
According to the Tampa Bay Times, recreational legalization cuts well-established medical marijuana programs off at the knees. In some instances, they lose up top 50% of their clients as producers and retailers replace or reduce their medical strains in exchange ones that appeal to recreational users.
The Tampa Bay Times explains:
“Much of the decline comes from consumers who, ill or not, got medical cards in their states because it was the only way to buy marijuana legally and then discarded them when broader legalization arrived. But for people who truly rely on marijuana to control ailments such as nausea or cancer pain, the arrival of so-called recreational cannabis can mean fewer and more expensive options.”
Unfortunately, many people do try to cheat the system and obtain medical cannabis when they technically do not meet the requirements. Losing them means a reduction in revenue, but for medical patients, the only thing that goes down are their options.
Out of all the losses to the medical marijuana industry, Oregon’s is by far the worst. Legalization completely devastated medical cannabis sales, almost to the point of complete extinction.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
“In Oregon, where the medical program shrank the most following recreational legalization, nearly two-thirds of patients gave up their medical cards…As patients exited, the market followed: The number of medical-only retail shops fell from 400 to two, and hundreds of growers who contracted with individual patients to grow specific strains walked away.”
But while the number of shops dropped to almost nothing, this did not change the number of medical recipients who found themselves in a tough spot:
“Now, some of the roughly 28,000 medical patients left are struggling to find affordable medical marijuana products they’ve relied on for years.”
Recreational legalization in Oregon also led to disparities in both pricing and potency for medical users, again placing them at a disadvantage. According to the Tampa Bay Times:
“Meanwhile, the rules that came with general legalization put lower caps on the potency of edibles. That means medical customers often pay more for the same dose they got before broad legalization. Medical cardholders, for example, used to buy gummies or chocolate bars infused with 400 mg of THC, the high-inducing element of cannabis. Now, edibles are capped at 100 mg for medical patients but cost the same or more.”
Dry herb is available in every dispensary, but things like edibles and concentrates are a bit harder to come by, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Consequently, some patients resorted to doing things on their own.
It is not uncommon for individuals to make their own oils and edibles at home. In fact, it can be quite fun and easy to master after a few tries. Concentrates, however, are another story.
Professionally-produced concentrates are manufactured in approved facilities and tested for safety. Without these checkpoints, patients could consume traces of harsh solvents – specifically butane.
The butane extraction method used to create concentrates is highly dangerous, and can result in serious property damage, injury or even death.
However, there is no other option for those who heavily rely on a specific product.
WeedAdvisor’s Ability to Resolve Policy Issues
WeedAdvisor understands the importance of proper policy and careful implementation. This is why we have subject matter experts who can offer consulting services to businesses and governments on any problem that appears.
Our goal, however, is to create a proactive approach that will foresee complications (such as the divide between recreational and medical marijuana), rather than engage in damage control after the fact.
We look forward to working with agents in the cannabis industry to hopefully strike a balance between recreational and medical products, intending to ensure that both are equally available and accessible.