Concerns About the Recreational Marijuana Hurting Medical Users

For medical marijuana users in Washington, things are about to change.

Although the state’s medical marijuana program is 17 years old,
Washington is just now moving to regulate production and distribution of
medical marijuana. Additionally, more regulation is coming with the
legalization of recreational cannabis use that was voted into law in
2012
.
Although these things may seem positive on the surface, medical
marijuana cardholders aren’t so sure.

What the Future Holds for Medical Marijuana Users in Washington

Although the state’s new laws are supported by politicians on both sides
of the aisle, critics are concerned that the changes will make medical
marijuana more difficult to access. Many fear dramatically increased
prices, limits on possession amounts, and restricted access to specific
medical marijuana products needed by high-use patients. Additionally,
medical marijuana cardholders are concerned that the supply of medicinal
cannabis could decline drastically once the state implements limits on
growing
.

Changing Tax Status

Until now, most of Washington’s marijuana dispensaries have been untaxed
and unregulated. With the new changes, however, consumers are concerned
that the high taxes (often up to
37%
)
faced by recreational consumer. What’s more, it seems like their
concerns are spot-on. Washington’s new regulations will be in place by
July 1, 2016 and, at that time, medical users can begin to expect high
taxes and a retail market-like environment. It is worth noting, however,
that taxation on marijuana can be very lucrative for states and their
citizens. For example, in Colorado, taxes on recreational and medicinal
marijuana

in 2014 alone pulled in $63 million. All of that tax revenue will be
used to improve social services in the state and the excess may be paid
back to
citizens

in the form of a dividend.

The Upside of the New Regulations

Although medical marijuana users in Washington are concerned about what
the changes in regulation and taxation mean for them, there are a few
definite upsides. In the past, medical cannabis has been completely
unregulated, which means that everything from production method to
pesticide use has been completely up to the grower. Although many
growers are ethical and careful about their products, some are not. That
said, it’s easy to see how Washington’s new production and distribution
regulations will provide better consumer protection. Additionally,
stricter regulations have the potential to produce purer, higher quality
products that are better for medical consumers.

Change is always uncomfortable and it seems that Washington’s new
legislation

will offer a trade-off: higher taxes and the potential for a decreased
supply in exchange for a safer product and better regulation.

Photo Credit.

The perfect dose of cannabis advice right to your inbox

Sign-up for news, deals, and more!
By signing up for Perfect Dose, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.