What Happens to Medical Marijuana if Recreational Marijuana Is Legalized?

As the laws surrounding cannabis change throughout the United States and Canada, you may be wondering what happens to medical marijuana if weed is legalized outright like alcohol and tobacco. The short answer is nothing really happens to medical marijuana if adults can buy the herb at a shop without a doctor's recommendation, but many anti-cannabis activists and members of the medical marijuana community alike have concerns about what they think is possible when cannabis is legalized for recreational use. To help you better understand their arguments, here we talk about what happens to medical marijuana if weed is legalized.

1. Medical marijuana can still only be sold in licensed medical cannabis dispensaries if weed is legalized, and only to patients with a valid medical marijuana patient standing with the state. Also, it's still up to your local city and county governments as to whether medical marijuana dispensaries (or recreational dispensaries, it weed is legalized in your state) can be open in your area.


2. Some medical marijuana patients argue against legalizing weed because they think it will impose tighter regulations on how much cannabis they can purchase at a time or grow themselves at home. On the contrary, medical marijuana patients have actually seen their rights to access and possess cannabis strengthen once recreational weed was legalized.


3. If recreational weed is legalized, people who don't have serious medical issues don't have to seek a doctor's recommendation to get cannabis that helps easy acute symptoms, like nausea, insomnia, or anxiety. This leaves doctors free to spend their time focusing on patients with more immediate medical needs, which is the only way to legitimize the use of cannabis for treating certain conditions.


4. The penalties and fees for cannabis-related crimes usually lower once weed is legalized. 


5. Many fear that the prices of medical marijuana would rise if weed were legalized in their area, but we haven't seen that happen in the states where cannabis is now legal. While the prices of recreational weed fluctuate depending on what's available from growers, medical marijuana prices remain steady. Also, medical marijuana isn't subject to sales tax like legal weed is.

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As medical marijuana continues to gain ground across the US, more and more colleges are adding cannabis to their curriculum. In fact, more than half of America's pharmaceutical schools (62 percent) now teach students about medical marijuana according to a new survey conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy. "With more states legalizing medical marijuana, student pharmacists must be prepared to effectively care for their patients who may use medical marijuana alone or in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications," the study's authors wrote.