Due to widespread legalization of cannabis use by a growing number of states, the U.S. marijuana industry is booming.
Today, more than 35 states have authorized the use of medical marijuana for various medical conditions (although these vary by jurisdiction).
Recreational marijuana use has also been legalized by states including Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia. Other states are set to pass adult-use laws, among them Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
In this article, we explore what makes business licensing for a marijuana dispensary or other business different based on medical vs. recreational requirements.
What is the difference between medical and recreational marijuana?
Technically, there is no difference between the marijuana plant and products used to treat medical conditions or those used for recreational purposes. Scientists have found that the THC concentration of both is similar. The main difference between medical and recreational marijuana is how they are sold.
For example, to purchase medical marijuana through a state’s medical program, a person must have authorization from a healthcare provider and the state’s approval. But recreational marijuana purchases in qualifying states can be made by any person over the age of 21.
These purchases may also be exempt from sales and use tax. For instance, a medical marijuana establishment may be exempt from paying a city’s cannabis business tax.