Why Getting a Maryland Medical Card is Still a Good Idea Even with Recreational On Its Way
Is Marijuana Legal in Maryland in 2022?
By now, you’ve probably already seen the news about recreational marijuana coming to Maryland. The newly passed legislation will make cannabis products available to all Maryland residents over the age of 21 by 2023. While this is exciting to hear, many marijuana experts advise getting your medical card even if your state goes recreational.
So why should you get a medical marijuana card in Maryland? In this article, we’ll cover all the main reasons why you should become a medical patient in a recreational state and why many experts typically agree that it’s the right move.
Maryland Recreational Cannabis Won’t Be For Sale Right Away
When recreational pot is approved by a state, there is usually a long delay for recreational products to actually become available for purchase. In many cases, the delay can be up to a year or even longer.
While Maryland has stated that starting in July 2023 possession of up to 1.5 ounces of weed will be legal for residents 21 years or older, this does not mean that recreational marijuana will be available for purchase at this time. Recreational sales will most likely go live sometime before the end of 2023, but there is no guarantee. Current medical dispensaries will have to go through the process of becoming licensed to sell recreational products and it’s hard to say at this point how long the process will take.
Getting your Maryland medical card in the meantime will guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase products as soon as the patient approval process is complete, which typically takes 30-45 days. If you want to have access to cannabis sooner rather than later, and not have to wait around for recreational sales to go live, then getting a medical card is the best option for you.
A Maryland Medical Marijuana Card Can Save You a Lot of Money on Taxes
One of the most popular reasons why weed users end up getting their medical marijuana card in a recreational state is to avoid recreational taxes. In nearly all recreational states, there is an excise tax that is applied to all recreational weed purchases. This tax can be quite high- the average is about 15%, but in some states it’s over 30%!
These recreational taxes add up very quickly. Medical card holders usually make up for the cost of their medical card within just a few visits to the dispensary by avoiding the high recreational taxes. Buying pot with a medical card instead of recreationally typically ends up saving patients hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every year! While Maryland has yet to determine the exact recreational tax, there is information circulating in the state that the tax could be up to 30% or higher.
A Maryland Medical Card Can Protect You, Legally
One of the most important benefits of getting a medical card is the legal protection that it provides patients.
Getting your card proves that you have a real medical need to possess pot. This proof can help you in many legal situations, including encounters with law enforcement. As a cardholder, you’ll be protected as long as you possess an amount under the legal limit and you’re not breaking any other laws, such as driving under the influence or selling your weed to others.
The protection that medical patients receive also extends into the workplace. While it’s ultimately up to the employer to determine the policy on cannabis use, in many cases employers will allow employees to use cannabis outside of work and test positive for THC in drug screenings as long as they are a medical patient. If you are administered drug screenings where you work, using cannabis recreationally without a medical card can be quite risky. Getting your medical card will most likely provide you with some kind of protection, however we always advise checking with your employer regarding their policy on marijuana just so you can be sure.
Maryland Marijuana Laws Let You Buy & Possess More Pot
In states that have both a medical and recreational cannabis program, the allotment for medical patients is usually significantly higher than for recreational users. This is true for Maryland as well, given that medical patients can carry up to 4 ounces (or more with permission from their provider) and recreational users will be limited to just 1.5 ounces.
So what is your allotment and why is it important? Your allotment is the amount of marijuana that you can legally purchase or possess within a certain time frame. Having a higher allotment will give you the peace of mind that you will be much less likely to run out of weed each month, and give you the freedom to carry and travel with much greater quantities. This is especially true in Maryland given the medical allotment is over double that of the recreational allotment.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Maryland Mean No Age Restriction for Patients
Another notable difference between medical and recreational pot programs is the age restriction. All recreational marijuana states across the country require residents to be at least 21 years of age to purchase and possess pot legally.
Medical cannabis programs typically do not have the same strict age restrictions. Because patients have to prove that they have a real medical need for marijuana, medical programs usually do not have a minimum age, as long as minor patients under the age of 18 have a parent or guardian as their caregiver.
Maryland’s medical cannabis program is no exception. There is no age requirement as long as minor patients under the age of 18 have a parent or guardian apply as their caregiver. So if you’re under the age of 21 or you’re interested in having a minor in your family try weed for health reasons, going with the Maryland medical program is the right decision.
On a Final Note
While we support the overall legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, we ultimately believe that becoming a medical patient is always the best decision if you’re a cannabis user.
Whether it’s tax savings, legal protection, a higher allotment or less restrictions, the benefits of getting your medical card make it well worth it and our patients agree!