A few days into the new year and the era of recreational marijuana already took root in California. People from all walks of life can now smoke higher taxed weed thanks to the implementation of Prop 64.
I got the full experience – excited and dazed as I stood there looking at the big green building that was Harborside, San Jose. “We’re fully recreational,” a budtender exclaimed, cheerful as usual while my husband and I presented our medical marijuana recommendations before showing our IDs. It was a familiar feeling having to walk past the tinted doors that held the dispensary from the rest of the world.
Since they were still cash only, I took some money from ATM machine and proceeded to examine Harborside’s layout. It smelled of roses more than weed and I found that funny, to be honest because it the universe telling me that California wasn’t done celebrating the ban on contraband yet – the legalization of a controversial plant that could topple a billion dollars’ worth of pharmaceutical monopoly.
This was why I was relentless in my support for the legal use of cannabis. It’s addictive but it was a habit that was an easier habit to kick off. “No money? Stop buying weed.” But then, “Why don’t we grow it?”
Consequently, my reason for wanting to buy clones from Harborside was actually a preemptive move against the coming taxes. The thing I noticed with most Bay Area collectives is that most of their inventory is consigned from other farms; which is understandable as part of being a collective. With a few clicks here and there, I told my husband that we should, perhaps, purchase some plants to use for our own medical needs.
Some recreational dispensaries do not give discounts to those with medical marijuana recommendations.
After Harborside, we decided to visit Buddy’s Cannabis to see how Prop 64 was treating them. The wait was longer than previously experienced, but I was excited. Either way, I’d been religiously following a personal rule: whenever I’m in the immediate San Jose area, I will collect my medication from Buddy’s.
Upon entering, they told us that we didn’t need our recs anymore – but I took the liberty to re-sign up to be a medical patient just in case I wanted to resort to edibles to conquer my severe anxiety.
“What do I do with my medical marijuana recommendation?” that’s a good question. According to their receptionist, having an MMR doesn’t give anyone discounts on any of their items, in fact, Harborside doesn’t even consider it as long as you have a valid ID — it just gives the person with a card the ability to buy edibles with higher amounts of THC.
A few days later we visited Purple Star MD, which is located in San Francisco’s Mission District. We decided to see how Prop 64 affected their prices. Immediately, we noticed that the counter dedicated to edibles was being arranged in one corner – separated from their flower and other products intended to be smoked.
After making my purchase, I immediately noticed the 20 to 30 percent increase in prices for tax. It was mind blowing and I felt a certain type of remorse that the medical aspect of the plant was somehow being rendered useless.
Some articles state that prices would possibly level out – like what happened to Colorado – and that some dispensaries will remain medical for the sake of the holistic nature of the plant. Although, since the legalization of pot is still fresh in California and the excitement of changing from medical to recreational is still the immediate response, I highly doubt medical patients would actually find reprieve in knowing which dispensary to go or if we should still renew our MMRs just for higher doses of edibles.
As a smoker of flower, this issue piqued my interest and made me question if I should renew mine if CBD products were going to be sold with the same taxes as high THC cannabis –
Medical is recreational to an extent.
Recreational dispensaries acknowledge the medical marijuana recommendations for higher doses of edibles for patients – but what else would the benefits be?
Magnolia Wellness in Oakland are a pretty vocal proponent of the medical use of cannabis and they spoke about awareness and rights for medical marijuana patients.
“Why should I keep and renew my medical marijuana recommendation?” – it’s simple, you shouldn’t. Or at least you should and look into the system. Medi-Cal makes it possible to “eat”, or lower the taxes for patients. There will be a fee, but if you spend more than $160 worth of product a month the card will basically deny the increase in prices.
Perhaps there was an easier way to solve this given the correct means. Just grow your own cannabis plants. According to California state law medical patients are allowed to grow 24 plants and keep about 8 ounces of flower under Prop 64 – which is a good leap from 6 plants and keeping an ounce of it.
Change isn’t really bad as long as the ability to keep an open mind is there.
I think, for people like me, growing your own cannabis as a medical patient is the immediate future. Over time, it’s more profitable. But buying here and there wouldn’t hurt.
As a country, we still have a long way to go concerning the use of this plant. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for other states when they go recreational.