Why California MMJ Patients Will Save Thousands Of Dollars A Year In Sales Tax With An MMJ Card

The stigma attached to marijuana is beginning to fade as more and more people experience the benefits this controversial herb has to offer. For instance, it can act as a pain reliever by relaxing and controlling muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis, it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well as control epileptic seizures and treat glaucoma. The list goes on, and if you feel you could benefit from medical marijuana yourself and you’re lucky enough to live in one to the 29 states in the US that have legalized it, it’s time to go to your doctor for an MMJ card.

The process in obtaining a medical marijuana recommendation is straightforward and doing so means that you will be able to go to dispensaries for advice and obtain medical marijuana for your health issues. The reason behind getting an MMJ card is because under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, therefore a recommendation from your doctor or physician is required in order to prove that you need the medicine to treat your condition. Your doctor must be licensed to recommend medical marijuana and they will firstly discuss with you whether this will be the best treatment to help you if you suffer from illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, or chronic pain. Once it has been decided, they will then be able to provide a written and signed certification. Next, the patient must register with the department of health in their state and medical marijuana program unit. Upon registration with your photo ID, you will then receive your MMJ card, which provides various benefits.

MMJ - flowering marijuana plant

Medical marijuana has many benefits for those suffering from chronic illness or pain.

One of the advantages of holding a MMJ card is that you will be able to grow your own plant (up to six!). In addition to this, you are allowed to carry a larger amount compared to somebody without a recommendation, and you won’t face any problems as a potential dealer if you run into law enforcers. Furthermore, come January 2018, the legalization of recreational marijuana is to come in place. What does this mean for people using marijuana for medical purposes though? It is advised to still have your MMJ card with you for convenience, as the new regulations will not be fully operational immediately. More importantly, an even better reason to keep hold of your MMJ card is due to the potential of saving a good amount of money in terms of sales tax. A number of places charge additional tax on recreational marijuana, whereas sales tax is exempt on marijuana products such as edibles, concentrates, and topical treatments. This means when you take into account the average cost of cannabis, the cost of application, renewal, doctor’s appointment and MMJ card, you can save some sweet cash if you’re using at least around four ounces per year (approximately $238 annually). Moreover, in California, the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program offers a tax discount to card holders who have a recommendation.

As of January 1st 2018, the laws are set to change as the legalization of recreational marijuana takes place, but given the benefits of having a recommendation, it is a good idea to have an MMJ card – especially if you feel you need cannabis for health purposes as opposed to recreational purposes.

MMJ Recs - Joint

If you have an MMJ card in California, you can save money in sales tax.

Overall, not only are there a number of proven benefits to using marijuana to treat various ailments and conditions from depression to cancer, but obtaining a medical marijuana card through your doctor or medical practitioner could ultimately help you save money on tax. Being in possession of an MMJ card also means you can carry more medical cannabis compared to a recreational user and you will have access to different forms of the medicine such as tinctures, vaporizers, sprays, and patches. You will also have the advantage of having access to professional advice from either your doctor or from people who work at the dispensaries as opposed to a budtender.

If you’re looking to try medical marijuana to help with your health issues, the best way is to get a recommendation from a medical professional as it meets the requirements of the various regulations, but additionally, it will help you save money on sales tax. It is worth noting, however, that in the New Year 2018, tax compliance among medical marijuana businesses may increase as California’s legalization of recreational use of cannabis takes place. Nonetheless, having an MMJ card not only gives you extra options as there are over 3000 dispensaries that sell medical cannabis in California, but you will also have access to a wider variety of products. Also, you do not have to travel to a doctor to get a recommendation if you have access to telemedicine, because then everything can be done online. But one of the bigger advantages here has to be the fact that you will be saving a lot of money given the tax benefits compared to somebody without an MMJ card.

MMJ Patients Don’t Pay Sales Tax: Why You Still Need A Medical Marijuana Card In California After January 1st

As medical marijuana usage spreads across the U.S. (29 states and counting), recreational marijuana is following, hot on the heels of its medically utilized cousin. Seven states and Washington D.C. have currently legalized the drug, with Maine set to follow suit and become the eighth, potentially very soon. A key state that has pioneered both recreational medical marijuana card usage is California; it was the first to legalize MMJ way back in 1996, and last year, on November 9th, the state voted to legalize recreational usage, the day after a tumultuous presidential election.

As a concession to the long-standing MMJ community in the state, from November 9th, 2016, qualified patients or their primary caregivers were exempted from retail sales tax on medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products, or topical cannabis if they present a valid medical marijuana identity card (or MMIC for short) issued by CDPH at the time of purchase. The state-wide rollout of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, commonly known as Proposition 64, is due to kick off on January 1st, 2018 – a mere two weeks from now. The state has had 13 months to prepare itself for the inauguration of recreational marijuana. The question is: is it ready?

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

Medical and recreational marijuana will soon be legal in the state of California.

In short, the answer is no. At least not completely. California is a huge state, and while there has been significant headway made in the rollout, most cities and counties won’t be ready to sell recreational marijuana by January 1st. A lot of the hold-up is due to the systematic regulation of what was very recently an unregulated, billion dollar industry; naturally this will take some time, and many locales are estimating an extra six to 18 months  to get the systems in place. However, as of January 1st, both medical and recreational marijuana will be legal in California, leading many existing patients to ask a very pertinent question: will a medical marijuana card still be needed following legalization?

The answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” for two main reasons. The first is that, ideally, your medical marijuana will be a specific strain that is suited and prescribed especially for your specific condition. Therefore, the only way you can guarantee a continued supply of your specific medicine during the big changeover is with a medical marijuana identification card. No one knows exactly how long it’ll be until every area of California is up and running selling recreational marijuana. So on the first day of 2018, keep to your tradition and acquire your MMJ the usual way: with your medical marijuana card in hand.

The second big reason is that you won’t be able to get recreational marijuana anywhere in California for the foreseeable future. MMJ dispensaries are only licensed to be just that: medical marijuana dispensaries. They won’t just start selling recreational marijuana, and you will always require an MMJ card to purchase the drug from their outlets. Therefore, you can happily conclude that the only way to get MMJ in California for much of 2018 will be with that all-important card. In an ideal word, recreational and medical marijuana would be available hand-in-hand from January 1st; however, that’s just not feasible, and the sad truth is that the state is woefully unprepared for a mass rollout of recreational marijuana on that date, despite the fact that it will technically be legal to sell it.

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Sapling

If you’ve already got an MMJ card in California, you’ll still need it after the new legislation is rolled out.

Another question that many citizens across the state are asking is, “If recreational marijuana is so close, do I need to bother picking up a medical marijuana card?” Again, the answer to this is a resounding “yes,” mainly for the two reasons listed above. But another perk of registering for a medical marijuana card is that you’ll pay no sales tax on the medicine. This is a major benefit, and one that should be factored in to each individual’s decision about MMJ. Proposition 64 does not in any way abolish the state’s medical marijuana program – it simply makes a couple of amendments to it. The California Department of Public Health will continue to produce the cards and maintain a registry of patients.

Unfortunately, the situation as it stands is extremely uncertain, and will remain so for some time. No one in the state, from the government to the sellers, knows exactly what form recreational marijuana will eventually take, or how long it’ll be until it is properly regulated. There is some concern over a potential black market inflation because of the stall, which comes with the added disadvantage of slowing the whole thing down further. Currently (and for the foreseeable future), the only legal, advantageous, and ultimately secure way to avail of medical marijuana in California is via a medical marijuana identity card. This will ensure each patient gets the uninterrupted medicine they require from state-licenced dispensaries, and will continue to provide them with MMJ’s many proven benefits.