With so many weed laws around the state and country changing so often, it can be confusing to keep track of cannabis types and regulatory categories. We’ve put together a quick guide to understanding the ins and outs of legal medical and legal recreational cannabis. Keep reading to learn the similarities, differences, and legal distinctions between the two, and how to procure some for yourself.
The first thing you need to know is that medical weed and recreational weed are more or less the same thing. They are differentiated from a legal standpoint and can vary in potency, but that’s about it. The differences lie in how they are regulated, taxed, produced, and sold, but ultimately, weed is weed. Both are safe and similar in quality, and are used for a variety of reasons. How much you can buy, how often you can buy, what you can buy, and how you can buy it are all factors that go into distinguishing medical and recreational weed.
Let’s start with Medical Marijuana, which is currently legal in 30 states, including Michigan. Cannabis is one of the oldest medicines in the world, going back at least 5000 years. It was used in ancient societies including Ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, and China and was even sold in mainstream American pharmacies until the early 1910s. In 2023, medical marijuana legally requires healthcare authorization, state approval, and a license. The qualifying conditions for medical weed vary by state but in Michigan, the list includes all sorts of ailments and symptoms, both physical and psychological. While medical weed requires doctor and government approval, it is not regulated by the FDA in the way that pharmaceuticals are. Most states have their own standards and regulations for growing and packaging medical marijuana. In Michigan, medical and recreational weed must be grown in separate facilities, and medical weed is subject to more stringent testing requirements before reaching consumers.
Medical marijuana is also sometimes exempt from certain taxes or fees. In Michigan, recreational weed is subject to 10% excise tax, whereas medical weed is not. Some states will take medical marijuana cards from other neighboring states. For example, Nevada will take California cards, and Michigan dispensaries are allowed to accept out of state cards, although not all do. The legal age for recreational cannabis consumption is 21. For medical marijuana, it’s 18, but minors can get access with parental consent and doctor approval. Many states, Michigan included, began with medicinal weed before legalizing recreational, and now have both. In some of these states, medical and recreational cannabis are sold alongside each other (like at Timber) but in others, the provisioning centers must be separate. Medical patients are also sometimes limited in the types of products they can purchase. In New York, medical patients are not permitted to purchase smokables, and must stick to topical and consumable forms of cannabis.
Recreational weed is currently legal in 19 states – and counting, as more and more states and municipalities bring cannabis to their legislators and voting booths. Generally, customers do not need to be residents of the state of purchase in order to buy recreational weed, but they are not permitted to cross state lines while in possession. For residents of Michigan, adults over 21 can carry up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis with a maximum of 15 grams of concentrates at once. Residents are also permitted to grow as many as 12 weed plants at home and can possess up to 10 oz of flower at any given time in a secured location at their home. At Timber Cannabis Co., our provisioning centers offer both medical and recreational weed. If you are not sure which is right for you, talk to your doctor or visit your local Timber location to speak with one of our knowledgeable budtenders.