As someone dealing with chronic pain for years, I\’ve tried almost every over-the-counter medicine and prescription drug you can think of. Most of them offer temporary relief, but the side effects are another story altogether. I\’ve read a lot about the benefits of cannabis for conditions similar to mine, but I\’m torn about how to approach it—should I just head to a recreational dispensary or should I go through the process of getting a medical card?
So, what exactly is the advantage of getting a medical cannabis card? Is there a difference between medical weed and recreational weed, both in terms of quality and efficacy? I need something more potent and focused on symptom relief, and I\’m wondering if going the medical route would offer that. Plus, are there any other benefits that could tip the scale? I\’d appreciate some detailed insight into this. Thank you!
Why Get a Medical Cannabis Card?
Possessing a medical cannabis card offers significant legal protections that recreational use does not. While adult-use cannabis may be legal in some states, the amounts you can possess are generally higher with a medical card. Additionally, medical cannabis patients often have the legal right to grow more of their own plants. Furthermore, the medical card can serve as critical protection in states where recreational cannabis use has not yet been legalized. It’s a form of legal assurance that non-cardholders don’t have, potentially saving you from hefty fines or even criminal charges related to possession. In Massachusetts, for example, there is a state-supreme court that protects medical card holders as a protected class.
On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, ruled that an employee fired for a positive drug test due to his/her lawful use of medical marijuana may assert a claim for disability discrimination under the Massachusetts employment discrimination statute.
Also, Section 22 of Bill S.978, An Act Relative to the Fair Treatment of Employees:
(a) An employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based upon a person’s use of marijuana provided that:- (i) The use of marijuana by the employee is neither in the work place during work hours, nor while the employee is performing tasks related to employment; and (ii) an employee is not impaired due to the consumption of marijuana in the workplace or while performing tasks related to employment.
(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to employers who are compelled to test for marijuana due to requirements established by the federal government.
(c) Nothing in this Section prohibits an employer from taking adverse employment action: (i) if an employee who is unable to maintain licenses, credentials, or other qualifications that are reasonably necessary for the performance of the employee’s position, even if such licensing, credentialing, or other qualifications prohibit the employee from using marijuana; or (ii) the employee is charged with a crime relating to his or her use, possession, sale, manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or transfer of marijuana and, based on the employer’s investigation into the matter, the employer reasonably believes the employee committed a crime.
(d) Any person claiming to be aggrieved under subsection (a) may bring a civil action under this section for damages or injunctive relief, or both, and shall be entitled to a trial by jury on any issue of fact in an action for damages regardless of whether equitable relief is sought by a party in such action. If the court finds for the petitioner, recovery shall be in the amount of actual damages; or up to 2 times such amount if the court finds that the act or practice complained of was committed with knowledge, or reason to know, that such act or practice violated the provisions of this section.
(e) The executive office of labor and workforce development in consultation with the executive office of public safety and security shall promulgate regulations to enforce this section.
When you have a medical cannabis card, you’re not just going it alone—you’re getting the product with professional guidance. The process of obtaining a card usually involves a consultation with a healthcare provider who can offer advice tailored to your specific condition. You’ll also likely have ongoing access to this professional for follow-up consultations, dosage adjustments, and treatment monitoring. This oversight can significantly contribute to the effective and safe use of cannabis for medical purposes.
One of the notable perks of having a medical cannabis card is better access to a wider range of products. Medical dispensaries often have formulations and strains that are not available in recreational shops. These products can be high-CBD strains, specific tinctures, or a wider range of edible options tailored for medical use. In essence, a medical cannabis card can open the door to a broader and more specialized selection designed to treat various ailments.
In some states and jurisdictions, having a medical cannabis card may also give you access to delivery services. For those who have mobility issues, chronic illnesses, or lack of transportation, this can be an invaluable benefit. You can receive your prescribed treatment right at your door, reducing the stress and complexity of ensuring you have an adequate supply.
Although recreational cannabis must meet certain safety and quality standards, medical cannabis often has to meet even stricter requirements. This is because it is intended for patients who may have compromised immune systems or other medical conditions that make them more susceptible to contaminants like mold, pesticides, or other adulterants. Therefore, by having a medical cannabis card, you can be more assured of the quality of products you’re consuming.
Personalized Staff Attention
Having a medical cannabis card usually translates to a more personal interaction when you visit a dispensary. Staff in medical dispensaries are often more knowledgeable about medical conditions and can provide more tailored recommendations. Unlike a recreational dispensary where the primary concern might be the ‘high,’ a medical dispensary staff aims to understand your medical condition, your symptoms, and your treatment goals.
The stigma surrounding cannabis use is lessening but still exists. People using cannabis for medical reasons may find themselves scrutinized by employers, family, or community. A medical card offers a form of social ‘legitimacy,’ reducing judgment and providing a more socially acceptable framework for use. As society continues to adapt to the normalization of cannabis, having a medical card can also serve as an educational tool, helping to inform others about the legitimate medicinal uses of cannabis.
In a world that is still grappling with the evolving landscape of cannabis legalization and cultural acceptance, having a medical cannabis card offers a host of advantages that go beyond simply treating your condition. From legal protections to higher product quality and better personalized attention, the benefits are numerous.