You may have already heard about recreational marijuana passing in Missouri. The new legislation will make cannabis products available to all Missouri residents by 2023. While this is exciting news, many industry experts advise getting your medical card even if your state goes recreational- and Missouri is no exception.
So what exactly are the reasons to get a medical card in a recreational state? In this article, we’ll cover all the main benefits of becoming a medical patient in a recreational state and explain why many of the experts agree that it’s the right move.
A Missouri Medical Card Can Mean BIG Savings On Taxes
One of the most common reasons why pot users end up getting their medical 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 cannabis purchases. This tax can be quite significant- the average is about 15%, but it can be as high as over 30% in some states!
As you could imagine, these recreational taxes add up very quickly. Medical patients usually make up for the cost of their medical card within just a few trips to the dispensary by avoiding the high excise taxes. Purchasing with a medical card instead of recreationally typically ends up saving patients hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every year! Missouri has yet to determine their excise tax, but they are planning to have one in place by the time recreational sales go live.
A Missouri Cannabis Card Can Provide Legal Protection
Many agree that the legal protection you have as a medical patient is one of the most important benefits and main reasons to get a medical card in a recreational state.
Having your card proves that you have a legitimate medical need to possess cannabis. This proof can help you in many legal situations, including run-ins with law enforcement. As long as you possess an amount that is within your limit as a medical patient and not breaking any other laws such as driving under the influence of weed or selling your medical products, you’ll most likely be protected legally.
The additional protection that medical patients have also extends into the workplace. While it’s ultimately up to the employer to determine their policy on cannabis use, in many cases employees will be allowed to use cannabis outside of work and test positive for THC in drug screenings as long as they have a medical card. If you are subject to drug screenings at your place of work, using cannabis recreationally without a medical card can be very risky. We always advise checking with your employer regarding their policy on cannabis just to be safe.
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Missouri Medical Marijuana Laws Allow You to Purchase & Carry More Pot
In most states that have both medical and recreational cannabis programs, the allotment for medical patients is usually significantly higher than for recreational users. This holds true for Missouri as well, given that medical patients have an allotment of 6 ounces in a 30-day period while recreational users are limited to just 3 ounces in the same period of time.
So what exactly is your allotment and why is it important? Your allotment is the amount of cannabis 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 far less likely to run out of cannabis each month, and give you the freedom to carry and travel with much more product. This is especially true in Missouri considering the medical allotment is double that of the recreational allotment, which is a substantial amount more.
Recreational Marijuana Sales Delays
When a state approves recreational marijuana, there is typically a significant delay for recreational products to actually become available for purchase. In some cases, the delay can be up to a year or even longer.
The state of Missouri has stated that recreational sales will go live sometime in 2023, but they have not given an exact date. Getting your Missouri medical card now will guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase products as soon as the patient approval process is complete, which typically takes less than 30 days. If you’d rather have access to cannabis sooner rather than later, and not have to wait around for updates from the state, then getting a medical card is the best option for you.
Medical Marijuana Laws Mean Lower or No Age Restrictions
Another important difference between medical and recreational programs is age restriction. All recreational pot states across the country require residents to be at least 21 years of age to purchase through the program.
The medical programs in these states do not have the same strict age restrictions. Because patients have to prove that they have a medical need for cannabis, medical cannabis programs typically do not have a minimum age, as long as the minor patient has a parent or guardian as a caregiver.
This is also the case for Missouri’s medical marijuana program. 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 cannabis for health reasons, the Missouri medical program is probably the right choice for you.
To Wrap Things Up
It can be exciting to hear that your state has approved recreational cannabis, and ultimately greater access to marijuana is something we believe in. However, like we’ve discussed, even once a recreational program goes live there are still many important and beneficial reasons to get a medical card.
So if you want to save a lot of money, have legal protection, purchase and carry more pot, and be bound by less restrictions, then getting a Missouri medical card is the way to go!
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