The word “marijuana” is a term built on racism and elitism in addition to a negative perception exploited by those uneducated about it’s benefits. In 2022, we now refer to “marijuana” as “cannabis.” In the medical or recreational market, this new nomenclature is used to highlight the benefits associated with consuming which can potentially include providing pain relief, improving sleep, etc. 

As a society, we have made great strides on removing the negative stigma that comes with cannabis. Spoken word in the earlier half of the 20th century would have one ousted and potentially locked up. In the 60’s, people started being more open about their consumption and unfortunately, these individuals suffered severe consequences not only legally but also socially. As time went on, the idea of the war on drugs led to legislation that included mandatory minimums for cannabis in the 80’s. In the 90’s, pop culture started embracing and highlighting cannabis as something that was being done and wasn’t going anywhere. In 96, California enacted Prop 215 which started the safe access movement. Since then, word spread and now the US has over 35 states where cannabis is obtainable. 

California’s passing of Prop 215 set the foundation for other states to come online with either medical sales, recreational sales or both. This has led to the Great State of Arizona having two paths to legally obtain cannabis. In AZ, you can buy cannabis on either the medical or recreational market. Let’s talk about each market to get an understanding of the differences between the two.

When we use the term medical, we are referring to the market governed under laws that require the consumer to do a few things before they can purchase and consume cannabis. A patient must get certified to obtain a medical marijuana card issued by the state of Arizona. This certification must be validated through a licensed medical marijuana doctor. In addition to the time invested in the certification process, the state of Arizona charges $150 for the processing fee every two years. On top of the state fee, the licensed medical marijuana doctor has their own fees they can charge as well.

After the patient is certified and their application is approved by the state, the patient can then purchase cannabis from any licensed medical marijuana dispensary in the state of Arizona. An added benefit to carrying a medical marijuana patient card is the reduced tax rate patients pay Vs recreational customers. It should be noted that medical marijuana patients are looking for a solution to their ailment(s). They are trying an alternative to traditional medications that may or may not have worked for them. Medical cannabis is just that- it is medicine for those who seek relief from their ailments or sickness.

While talking about recreational cannabis is similar in many ways and totally different in comparison to medical cannabis. In the rec market, users only need to have valid proof of being 21 or older. Once they can prove they are of age, recreational customers can purchase without fear of reprisal as long as some regulatory measures are met. Recreational marijuana users can have up to one ounce of flower and up to 5 grams of concentrates on them at a time with homegrow up to 6 plants. Recreational consumers can expect to pay 16% more in taxes than the medical marijuana patients. Obtaining a medical marijuana patient card will help save on these taxes and is worth considering if you plan on consuming cannabis regularly. 

Safe access for cannabis is here in Arizona and is not going away. Pioneers of this industry have worked hard, and it is paying off. While constant expansion of limits and regulations is desired by the people of the cannabis community, small steps become big leaps over time. Right now, we are in the phase of small steps.


One day we will free the weed. Sorry; Free the cannabis.

Check out our Dispensary location for safe access to medical or rec cannabis in Mesa Phoenix AZ.  ( View Here ) 

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