North Carolina Senate Passes Extensive Medical Cannabis Bill
by Bethan Rose
To get a medical card, there is a stringent protocol to follow. One must find a supportive physician, undergo an evaluation, send in the right paperwork, and renew the whole thing every year on top of being responsible for fees incurred. If you live in a state that allows recreational use of cannabis, you might have wondered why anyone would ever want or need to get a medical card to consume. The reality is that there are several advantages to having a medical card even if you do reside in a state that allows recreational use. Let’s learn.
If you have ever purchased in the regulated market, you are most likely very much aware of the eyebrow-raising amount of taxes placed on recreational cannabis. Each state controls its taxes differently. But consumers in recreational markets will be quick to discover that the taxes placed on medical cannabis products are a fraction in comparison to recreational products. Either way, since cannabis is being regulated and sold, sales taxes are imposed in the states that implement them. Moreover, some states also include an excise tax on top of the sales tax when people make a cannabis purchase. Places that don’t have a state sales tax, such as Alaska, enforce a set fee per ounce of product.
There is a difference between adult-use and medical cannabis dispensaries. In states with active recreational-use markets exist exclusive medical cannabis dispensaries available only to people that hold a medical card. Those that are not active patients in the state’s medical program are not allowed to purchase from these types of dispensaries. Medical cannabis dispensaries often look similar to the doctor’s office setting. They are designed to educate and assist patients in treating their individual ailments with cannabis.
Each medical cannabis state governs its program differently. But in some, such as Colorado and Washington, medical patients are permitted to grow, possess, and purchase more cannabis than recreational users.
If you are a medical cannabis patient and want to travel but are concerned about taking your medicine, take a look at the list of reciprocity states. States that have reciprocity with other state’s medical cannabis programs will allow those visitors to have access and use their medicine within its borders as long as the right protocol is taken.
In some states, you need to be 18 years of age to be eligible for a medical card. However, recreational states mandate that users be a minimum of 21 years old. Minors who use cannabis for medical purposes need to be under the care of a designated caregiver who is at least 18 years old.
Last but not least, another benefit to having a medical card is that cardholders are backed by a licensed healthcare professional. Cannabis is still federally illegal but that does not automatically discount its medicinal value. When you have a stamp of approval by a physician who is well informed of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, it legitimizes the use of cannabis, especially in the event of a legal situation. Having a medical card is essentially like having an agreement between you as a patient and the state. You are entrusting them to sanction your usage and they are relying on you to be a responsible consumer.
While it can appear like a tedious process, having a medical card has its benefits even in the states where recreational use is accepted. Patients pay less in taxes and are permitted to possessing and growing more because cannabis is helping better their quality of life. Further, being certified by a health professional substantiates the medicinal uses which provide supporting evidence should the law come knocking. To learn more, contact Veriheal where you can speak with a licensed physician who can guide you every step of the way through your journey to healing with cannabis.
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