Recreational Cannabis or Medical Cannabis – What is the Difference?

November 8, 2016 12:05 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Recreational Cannabis or Medical Cannabis – What is the Difference?

You’ve heard the question a thousand times over and over again, yet you find yourself asking for clarification each time the topic comes up again. Is it that people are not actually receptive to the answers, or are they just choosing not to listen to the simple answer? Or could it actually be that the questions is more complex than just an “either or answer”? Yes. Precisely, that’s it. It’s a bit more complex and needs some true explaining, which we will do for you.

Recently with the legalization, decriminalization, and activation of so many different programs across the United States it can sometimes get confusing on what laws are actually in place. So a general overview is needed to dive into this legalization phenomenon. To do that it is best to understand all of the levels that the law can written for marijuana.


The most common and known law regarding cannabis is that if being an illegal crime to possess, buy, sell, or transport any form of marijuana. This can be in the form of a federal crime or a misdemeanor crime.


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This is becoming a very popular legal status to sweep state legislatures across the country. Year to date there are 23 states that have medical marijuana programs in place. Being in a state that allows medical marijuana means that for ONLY qualified registered patients, those patients are able to partake in medical marijuana activities. Those activities vary by state, but they in general include medicating at your home residence, legally purchasing from a dispensary, procuring cannabis for a patient, and using cannabis in all available forms as medicine. Some states have more lenient programs, such as Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Maryland, Washington D.C. and California. While in contrast, some state programs that are more strict include Florida, Alaska, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New York.


This level of legality is usually the last preemptive step before full legalization. Typically, decriminalization means no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana that is to be used for personal consumption. In most decriminalized states, these offenses are treated like a minor traffic violation if anything at all.


This level of legality refers to a full blown authorization by a state to recognize marijuana legally to the general public. Typically this means a policy that supports a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source. With all these state levels of legalization in place it’s easy to see how people can get lost in keeping up with the laws, not to mention they change all the time. Luckily your favorite medical marijuana team here at Veriheal  takes pride in keeping you updated so you don’t have to search far for the answers you seek!

Post Your Comments

Kallia says:

November 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm

cool article!

onepath says:

April 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Thank you!