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Since 2006, Rhode Island medical patients with qualifying conditions have enjoyed medical cannabis. Thanks to recent state legislation, adult residents can soon buy recreational marijuana from licensed dispensaries.
In Rhode Island, many consumers are curious about the difference between medical and recreational cannabis, and wonder if they should bother applying for a medical card.
There are definite differences and benefits to having a Rhode Island medical cannabis card that make it worth the effort to apply. There are nearly 20,000 medical marijuana cardholders in Rhode Island, and with good reason. Keep reading to learn more about medical vs recreational cannabis in Rhode Island.
Medical vs Recreational Cannabis in Rhode Island
When it comes to the difference between medical and recreational, it’s important to know that the actual cannabis products you can buy are the same.
There are no strains of the plant that are specific to medical or recreational use. The difference lies in how the products are sold.
6 Benefits of a Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Card
Despite the addition of recreational cannabis, here are a few benefits to having a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island.
1. Lower Cost
The taxes on Rhode Island recreational cannabis can exceed 20%, and that is before you tip your budtender. This consists of a 10% cannabis tax, a 3% tax by the community where it is sold, and the current 7% sales tax.
Consider this; if you purchase $150 of recreational cannabis a month, that is $360 or more a year that you will pay in taxes on top of your purchase price and tips.
The fee for a Rhode Island medical cannabis card is $150 annually, but there are no taxes on medical marijuana. If you spend approximately $63 or more on cannabis monthly, it would be more cost-efficient to have a medical card.
2. Delivery and Wait Times
Medical cannabis patients have the ability to order their cannabis ahead of time and pick it up curbside. This is not available for recreational users.
It is also worth noting that consumers can expect shorter lines for medical cardholders. No matter if a dispensary serves both medical and recreational consumers, the point of sale is separate.
3. Purchase Experience
Having experienced sales staff (budtenders) can make a big difference in your purchasing experience. Medical marijuana card holders have the option for consultations with staff who have worked with the product from seed to sale, under Rhode Island law. Recreational budtenders are trained to sell to the masses.
4. Lower Age Limit
Any adult age 18 and older can receive a Rhode Island medical cannabis evaluation and a card. Recreational purchases require customers to be 21 or older. This is an important differentiator for young adults seeking the wellness benefits of cannabis.
5. Discount Availability
Interestingly, when evaluating medical vs recreational cannabis in Rhode Island, it is worth noting that discounts are not allowed for recreational sales. Medical dispensaries are permitted to offer loyalty incentives, military discounts, and more.
Rhode Island is not the only state with a cost-effective medical marijuana program. If you happen to travel, you may be able to receive the benefits of medical card holders in the state you are visiting. States with reciprocity include:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Washington D.C.
Who Can Apply for a Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Prescription?
To receive a Rhode Island medical card through a cannabis physician, you must have a qualifying condition. Qualifying conditions include, but may not be limited to:
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The following chronic or debilitating diseases also qualify for medical marijuana patients:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s Disease
- Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
- Severe nausea
The Rhode Island Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program administers all aspects of the state Medical Marijuana Act. This includes who is eligible to receive a Rhode Island medical cannabis card. If your condition is not on this list, you may still be eligible, and it is worth consulting with a medical professional.
How Can I Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Rhode Island?
Canna Care Docs is proud to serve the many new and existing medical marijuana patients across the United States. Our cannabis clinic is a team of experts in the medical marijuana field, offering answers to any questions medical patients may have.
Interested in applying for a medical marijuana prescription? Contact Canna Care Docs in Rhode Island to schedule a consultation with a cannabis doctor. We’ll provide a quick, simple evaluation and answer any questions you have about the process and benefits.