It wasn’t until 2012 that Washington State and Colorado introduced America’s first legal recreational cannabis bills. Prior to this, the only cannabis available legally in North America was medical marijuana. Dozens of states now permit the sale and consumption of medical cannabis for qualifying conditions, while a total of 11 states have so far legalized recreational cannabis.

But what, if anything, is the difference between recreational and medical cannabis? Aside from the fact that the two product classifications are used for entirely different reasons, are there any distinguishable differences between medical marijuana and recreational cannabis?

More importantly, is there still any real reason to go through the process of applying for a medical cannabis card, if you’re able to qualify for one?

Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis: Availability

Perhaps the biggest and most important difference between recreational and medical cannabis lies in product availability. While just 11 states now permit the sale and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes, more than 30 states have introduced legal medical cannabis legislation. This means that those who qualify for a medical cannabis card have much broader and more convenient access to cannabis than their recreational counterparts.

The actual shopping experience itself is relatively

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