Medical and Recreational Marijuana
We have heard a lot lately about the relationship between medical and recreational cannabis. While Measure 91 explicitly left the medical system unchanged, the legislature is free to alter it as it sees fit and we can expect to see some changes in the medical system. But questions abound about how and how much should we change the medical system, and whether we even need a medical system at all.
On the one hand, many commentators have concerns about waste and inefficiency. They see no need for two duplicative systems and advocate for some consolidation of the medical and recreational systems, from joint oversight to eliminating the medical system altogether. Others declare that the will of the people who voted for Measure 91 was to leave the medical system intact and that only with a completely separate medical system can medical patients be adequately cared for.
At Pure Green, we do not see the issue in black and white, but rather in shades of green. We believe that the goal should be to implement a system or systems that serves the needs of medical patients and recreational customers in as efficient (not wasteful) a manner as possible. This task starts by identifying the needs of medical patients and rec customers and ascertaining where they are consistent and where they diverge.
So what are those needs? Where are they similar or different? Most cannabis strains are suitable for both medical and recreational customers, as are most cannabis products made from these strains. Medical and rec customers alike need a safe, secure place to observe, learn about and purchase these products.
A few cannabis products exist that are primarily medical in nature. These consist primarily of topical salves, which are not psychoactive but do relieve minor pain and inflammation, and high CBD strains. CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for a great deal of the healing properties of cannabis. CBD strains are not particularly popular among recreational consumers, but most CBD strains have some psychoactive THC in them. To confuse matters even more, some recreational users value the body relaxation produced by CBD strains so even these are not purely medical products.
Medical users also have certain needs beyond those of recreational users. Medical users often need more cannabis than recreational tokers, so higher possession limits for medical patients make sense. Medical users may not be able to afford to purchase as much medicine as they need, so higher plant counts for their homegrows are also appropriate. Not all medical users are physically able to grow their own, either because of their physical condition or their living situation. These patients should be allowed to designate a grower to grow their meds for them.
What kind of system or systems provide for the needs of both medical patients and rec customers, while acknowledging the state’s interest in regulating efficiently? Do we need two separate systems to accomplish these goals? Tell us what you think and we will offer our suggestion in the next post.