Since it has been scientifically proven that cannabis does have therapeutic benefits, many US states have upgraded their cannabis laws to allow medical use of cannabis within the state. A qualifying patient registers themselves with the stateâs medical cannabis regulatory authority and gets a medical marijuana card in return. Sounds simple, right? However, owning a medical marijuana card has both light and dark sides.
Possible benefits of getting a medical marijuana card
1. Legal Protection
On a federal level, marijuana is still labeled as a Schedule I drug making it illegal to possess or consume. However, a state-issued medical marijuana card is the only legal protection you get within the premises of a state if youâre consuming marijuana for legal reasons.
2. Higher Possession Limits
So far, 23 US states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana. However, the possession limit for both groups differs significantly. In most cases, medical marijuana cardholders enjoy higher possession limits as marijuana for them is a life-saving drug.
3. Access To Quality Products
The only legal way to purchase marijuana products in a state is through a licensed dispensary. Now, these dispensaries offer a range of quality products that are most of the time available to registered medical marijuana patients only. Also, the staff at these dispensaries is trained to give priority to medical marijuana users in terms of services.
4. Lower Age Limit
Just like cannabis possession limits, in a US state where both recreational and medical marijuana are legal, the age limit for possession varies greatly between the two groups. In most cases, medical marijuana users get an exemption from the set age limit even if they are minors, considering that they are accompanied by a designated caregiver.
Possible downsides of getting a medical marijuana card
1. Canât Own A Firearm
In the US, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) is responsible for regulating firearms licenses throughout the country. As marijuana is a Schedule I substance as per federal laws, marijuana users (regardless if they are consuming marijuana for medical reasons) canât own a firearm. This is one of the major reasons why so many individuals avoid getting a medical marijuana card in the first place.
2. Driving Restrictions
As per federal regulations, driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any such substance that can affect your ability to operate a vehicle is illegal. Individuals often found guilty in such cases face both prison time and financial fines. Plus, it doesnât matter if you are a registered medical marijuana patient or not, driving after consuming marijuana is illegal.
3. Annual Renewal Fee
Most of the US states that have an active medical marijuana program require its registered participants to renew their marijuana cards each year. That means youâll have to pay a renewal fee as well and you might have to book an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor once again.
4. Canât Apply For Federal Jobs
As mentioned earlier, marijuana is labeled as a Schedule I substance on the federal level. As a result, consuming and possessing marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by jail time and financial fines. The state may provide legal protection to its medical marijuana users but anyone with a medical marijuana card is automatically disqualified for a federal-level job.
So, should you be getting a medical marijuana card in 2023?
The fact that whether you should be getting a medical marijuana card or not is something that depends upon you as a marijuana consumer. If marijuana does significantly influence your health, then we would advise you to get a medical marijuana card.
In recent years, many US states have legalized the use of medical cannabis which has led to the foundation of various medical marijuana regulatory authorities throughout the country. However, apart from the benefits of medical marijuana, the substance is still illegal at the federal level which binds some prominent disadvantages with the card as well. Take your time, evaluate the pros and cons, and make the right choice.