Financial & Banking

Cost Effective Cannabis For Medicinal Use

Written by Colby McCoy

Although recreational cannabis is only legal in 10 states, medicinal cannabis is legal in a whopping 33 states. As legalization in both the recreational and medicinal spheres continues, it is important to point out the difference in cost for medicinal and recreational users.  So, is medicinal cannabis more affordable?

In spite of the fact that cannabis regulations and taxes differ from state to state, medicinal users do in fact pay less. For example, Californians who possess or are eligible for a state-issued medical cannabis card are exempt from state-local sales tax. But, medical card holders in California are required to pay an annual fee ranging from $50-$100.

Another major difference between medicinal and recreational users is the legal limit of cannabis one can purchase. Recreational users in California are allowed to purchase a maximum of 1 ounce. In comparison, medicinal patients may purchase up to 8 ounces.  In a recent study that analyzes the cost-effectiveness of medical cannabis cards, it was found that medicinal patients see larger savings when they purchase greater quantities.

Upon making an initial investment in the medical card itself, medicinal patients in California would have to purchase 4 ounces of cannabis to see a dent made in card costs. In comparison, patients in Colorado would have to purchase 8 ounces of cannabis to receive savings.

It may be said that medicinal cannabis is cheaper on paper. However, as we have seen, discounts will vary from state to state and largely hinge on the quantity purchased. Thus, the question of whether or not to obtain a medical card is entirely dependent on the needs of the patient themselves.


            Branan, B. (2017, December 28). Does it make financial sense to keep your medical marijuana card after Jan. 1? Retrieved from

Chappell, B. (2018, November 07). 3 More States OK Easing Their Marijuana Laws: Michigan, Utah, Missouri. Retrieved from

Medical Marijuana Laws by State. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mitchell, T. (2017, December 08). How Much Money Does a Medical Marijuana Card Really Save You? Retrieved from

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Colby McCoy

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