This weekend marks a watershed moment in the expansion of who can legally purchase and use cannabis in the state of Maryland. On Saturday, the new “adult-use cannabis” regulations in the state will take effect. So, what exactly do these regulations state, and how will they affect people who use marijuana for medical purposes?
What Becomes Legal Saturday?
Voter-approved recreational marijuana legislation in Maryland will alter the state’s landscape on July 1. Medical marijuana has been legal in Maryland for several years. Medical cannabis is currently available for purchase by patients who have received approval from providers registered with the state.
The legal purchase and possession of up to an ounce and a half of cannabis flower, up to 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or up to 750 milligrams of THC in products, went into effect this past Saturday for anyone 21 and older. The first stores to sell recreational marijuana in the state will be the existing medical dispensaries.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Maryland legalized recreational marijuana. Here’s what you should know.https://t.co/B60M8Jvhp3
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 9, 2022
Washington, DC’s Columbia Care is expanding with new registers and personnel. Volley Hayhurst, a representative for Columbia Care dispensaries, stated, “I’m sure we’ll have lines, but we’re going to put forth every effort to make sure that we mitigate any kind of wait time.”
How does this Impact Medical Users?
Medical users are unaffected, but they may now join recreational users in purchasing cannabis. Shopping hours, product availability, and “other accommodations” at dispensaries are all geared at meeting the needs of customers who rely on medical cannabis.
For instance, Hayhurst claims that at Columbia Care, customers can “skip the line” on popular recreation days by making their medical purchases at a special register. “At the end of the day, the goal is to protect the medical program and just make sure that they have access to their medicine,” Hayhurst said.
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So What’s the Difference in Buying Medical Versus Recreational?
Patients who use cannabis for medical purposes must pay for medical marijuana cards and accompanying doctor’s visits, but their purchases are not taxed. How much a patient can legally possess is based on how much their doctor says they need over the next 30 days.
In some places, possessing more than two and a half ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes is a criminal violation, while in others, it’s a civil infraction. Products sold directly to consumers tend to be weaker and less varied than those sold to medical professionals.
Hayhurst suggests that you “keep your medical card for sure,” since he compares it to a “VIP” card at state dispensaries. “A lot of the extracted products like butters, batter, sugar, shatter all that stuff, that’s going to all be allowed to the medical program and not necessarily through the adult use program.”
Although several states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, it remains unlawful to possess marijuana outside of such states or to consume it in public or a vehicle. This law does not make it legal to consume cannabis in the workplace if your employer has a policy against it.
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