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The medical benefits of marijuana is the main reason for states wanting to legalize marijuana. Researchers, doctors and chemist seem to be leading the excitement in pushing for legalizing marijuana nationwide.

For the states where marijuana is already legal, medically and recreationally, the lines seem to be blurred. In fact, the difference is a huge gray area.

A rEVOLutionary Beginning

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In 1996, California passed the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed people with medical problems to grow and buy marijuana. This was a significant victory in the name of weed. Finally, California had realized the benefits of using marijuana to help patients suffering from epilepsy, chronic pain, glaucoma, and so much more.

Though medical marijuana quickly gained momentum, with 24 states legalizing flower in only 8 years, there was still a sort of divide between the medical patient and the recreational stoner. And this is where the gray area can be found.

The Gray

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Medical and recreational marijuana markets seem to be two of the same. Think of each as two cannabis plants. They look the same, but each has an intricate system of roots below the surface. The difference between medical and recreational use seems to be small on the outside, but monumental in terms of moving forward with legalizing.

So what is the big difference between med and rec?

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There really isn’t one, besides the “medical” aspect. There aren’t very strict rules for medical marijuana doctors like there are for ordinary MD’s administering pharmaceutical meds.

If a person says, “I have one of these ailments,” doctors give recommendations in the form of marijuana prescriptions and the patient receives their “treatment.” This isn’t any different than a patient going to an MD, to a degree. The one major difference is what the patient puts in his body, whether it be a naturally grown plant with healing components or a chemically made substitute that also helps, but on a different level.

So you ask, why not just get rid of med in recreationally legal states?

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This is the kick. The reason why recreationally legal states can’t do away with medical sales, thus leaving all the profit to rec, is the main reason why marijuana became legal in the first place. The stigma surrounding medical marijuana is what’s pushing open the gates for legalization.

If we were to remove med sales, say, in Colorado where rec is legal, it would set a bad example for what the marijuana industry is trying to do throughout the nation. The marijuana industry, since California’s Act of 1996, is trying to prove that marijuana can be used to treat ailments and make patient’s lives a little more comfortable. The industry spends major dough proving this point and researching different ways cannabis can help these people.

Remember, it’s all about you

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The benefits of marijuana remain the number selling point for getting states legalized and helping out the masses. Unfortunately for the hardcore stoners, marijuana as medicine will continue to be the driving factor in making progress with cannabis.

But remember, consuming marijuana isn’t about the markets or the money or big corporations. Flower is the sole individual and how you experience it. We would love to hear your opinions on the political, social and economic difference between medical and recreational marijuana on social media or leave a comment below.

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Audrey Livingston

I'm a recent BA grad and currently live in Denver, CO. I enjoy running to the dog park with my main squeeze Reggie. A few of my favorite authors include Rachel Kushner, Claire Vaye Watkins, Barthelme and David Foster Wallace.
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