Merging the Medical Use Market with the Recreational Market

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel January 5, 2015

    herbal_cannabisOne of the current challenges facing both Colorado and Washington is how to successfully implement a full legalization system along side an existing medical use system. In Colorado, for example, the state elected to permit their existing, licensed medical use dispensaries to be the only dispensaries permitted for the first year (although they were required to keep the two sides of their business separate), to take advantage of the existing infrastructure for growing and dispensing marijuana. Thereafter those without prior experience in the medical marijuana marketplace were allowed to apply for licenses to grow and sell recreational marijuana.


    45 responses to “Merging the Medical Use Market with the Recreational Market”

    1. Miles says:

      There is no doubt that cannabis has real medical properties. Even those who use it recreationally are using it medically to some extent. After all, for me, although I don’t have seizures or glaucoma, I find it to be an incredible stress reliever. Stress has been found to have a very negative effect on one’s health and if it helps that then most usage could be considered medical. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine. Well, under the influence of cannabis, I often find many reasons to laugh; sometimes at myself 🙂

      In my specific case, in addition to relieving my stress, I also believe it will help to prevent cancer and even mental decline as I age.

      I think there should not be medical and recreational categories. Just legalize it for all adults and let us use it in whatever way it helps.

    2. Chadwick says:

      Perhaps make both tax rates equal and fair compared to alcohol?

      The CO and WA recreational tax rates are excessively high, and as long as it remains that way, the black market will flourish because it can offer a lower pricepoint with little risk of arrest.

    3. Cher says:

      I agree with Miles 🙂

    4. Julian says:

      Just let people with a reasonable medical license to purchase subsidized marijuana using recreational revenue and to grow marijuana on their own, tax free.

      Then, Tax recreational marijuana with revenue for public education with limited rights to grow at home.

      Then, provide subsidies in the Farm Bill for hemp, while at the same time Tax industrial hemp with revenue for the same small farmers that produce it, also with revenue going to public education.

      Finally, create an international rule of genetically engineered trade that disallows genetically altered seeds in certain farm zones…

      The only “Prohibition” I can imagine useful in this day and age is to “prohibit”… Genetically Engineered crops of ANY kind to filter into our sustainable pollinated crops. That means Open Source, heirloom seeds, that represent EVERY American farmers’ right to grow cannabis, and yet regulates genetically engineered and PATENTED seeds to areas where they cannot affect the sustainability of native crops.


      The END of Prohibition.

    5. Alex says:

      Medical and recreational must not be allowe to merge here in Washington state! Medical has existed for over a decade and thousands of people rely on it to live with less pain day in and out of their lives. This merging is nothing more than an attempt for the state to monopolize legal cannabis.

      Medical allows for home growing and designated providers and care givers as well as collectives which also can but don’t have to have storefronts that most people know of as “dispensaries”. I for example grow for my own pain and my parents. If this merge happens we’ll all of a sudden be doing something illegal that for years has been legal. We’ll suddenly have to pay around 20-30$ per gram of medicine compare to growing it ourselves for pennies per gram. I have friends who grow for their grandparents and know of people who grow specifically for cancer patients. None of this will be possible if this force merge happens.

      Instead all of these people get lumped together and forced to pay ridiculous amounts compared to what we have been growing for ourselves or getting for at an affordable price. It’s all about the money. And i502 already empowers the black market here. Street weed is readily available at $10/gram. Why would anyone want to buy from a recreational store unless they’re a tourist? And even then..

      There’s just no reason to merge the two systems. If there are medical collectives operating outside their limits an the law then let the police handle it. Let them do some police work and bust them. This is screwing over the many in order to stop the few. It’s overly excessive unneeded and this claim of collectives operating illegally is obviously a thin guise to hide the obvious attempt of the state to monopolize all cannabis sales in the state.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:


      I agree with everything you said. Nice summary.

    7. Don says:

      I completely agree with Miles. One thing missing from all legislation and proposed legislation is an acknowledgement that marijuana is non-toxic and dramatically less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Any regulation should flow from that premise.

    8. Eric K. Johnson says:

      Comparing non-toxic Cannabis with deadly/Toxic Tobacco and deadly/Toxic Alcohol is absolutely foolish.

      The future is laughing in our ignorant faces?

      Cannabis is a wonderfully beneficial herb and provably non-toxic…ergo…Cannabis does not and can not cause intoxication.

    9. Voice of the Resistance says:

      I also agree with Miles.

    10. Dave Evans says:

      I agree with Miles and that is why there should be no “sin tax” on marijuana. Tax Marijuana Businesses, yeah. Pay the normal sale tax, yeah. But no freaking “sin taxes”!!! Those are for dangerous activities, like smoking tobacco.