The world of marijuana has been dominated in the past few years by the recreational version of the substance. In only a short period of time, more than half of the U.S. has been able to legalize adult-use marijuana, leading to the biggest boom of recreational cannabis that we have seen. With the rising popularity of recreational, it seems as though medicinal marijuana has begun to see its decline. This simply stems from the fact that it is much more difficult to have access to medical cannabis when looking at the alternatives.
Since the beginning of the legal market on marijuana, medicinal cannabis has been the way to go. Medicinal cannabis has also been the choice for those who rely on the substance for everything from cancer treatment to nausea reduction and everything in between. The beginning of adult-use cannabis, however, has completely transitioned the market to a place where cannabis is much more expensive and arguably easier to get our hands on.
Looking at the example of California, who legalized 21 and over cannabis back in the beginning of 2019, marijuana prices have skyrocketed. An ounce of cannabis prior to the legislation could have cost anywhere from $40 to $80, with prices now shooting upwards of $150-$200. In this way, using recreational cannabis can often be off the table for medicinal patients, as they are spending a large amount of their money on medical care among other factors.
This issue, however, is not just in California, but rather is something that has become nationwide. One of the main reasons that the issue stands is that taxes for the substance are extremely high. In some states, taxes can account for more than a third of the price of cannabis. In Oregon, after the substance became legalized on a broader scale, the amount of medical only dispensaries shot down from 400 to two. That number might seem astounding, but it seems as though it is the case in many other states as well. In Oregon, there are as many as 30,000 patients who still rely on medicinal cannabis but simply have had a harder time gaining access to the plant.
In the U.S. as of now, there are ten states that have both medicinal and recreational cannabis market. These states have seen that the benefit of medicinal cannabis including its price and necessity to those who need it, means that there is still very much a desire to have the market exist. Prices for medicinal cannabis in these states is still much lower due to the lessened taxes and discounts patients can receive.
All in all, the world of recreational cannabis is something that many thought would never exist. Despite this, there are some issues that medicinal patients need to have solved in order to get their medicine. The hopes are high that as we continue to traverse a marijuana-fueled future, we can continue to serve all those who need access to the substance.