Buying Marijuana in California and Colorado: How do Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries Work?
Buying Marijuana in California and Colorado: How do Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries Work? Well, California gained a reputation years ago as a pot-friendly state simply because it was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and for many years the only state where you could get a prescription for pot, let alone get it filled. Then Colorado came along and wowed the country by legalizing recreational marijuana. Now many other states and even DC have joined California and Colorado in legalizing either medical marijuana or recreational cannabis. But how does it actually work? What is it like buying marijuana in California or Colorado dispensaries?
California marijuana dispensaries
California has had a reputation as a marijuana state for decades now, so it is a surprise to some to realize that recreational marijuana is actually still illegal in California. The only dispensaries in the state supply medical marijuana and you have to have a prescription to be able to buy.
California has legalized medical marijuana, but many counties and locations will not issue licenses to medical cannabis dispensaries. This means that access to dispensaries is spotty and is largely limited to areas where local governments are marijuana-friendly.
You do need a prescription to get marijuana; legally, these prescriptions are easy to get. There is a list of conditions that you can use marijuana to treat in the state of California, ranging from anorexia to arthritis to cancer. The list is curtailed by the item “any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”. In other words, if you can find a doctor will agree that marijuana would provide relief for whatever symptom you might have, you can get medical marijuana in California.
Because you have to have a prescription to get marijuana, you can also only get the amount of marijuana that the doctor prescribes. Like any other prescription, you can get a certain amount at a time, and you can only refill it after enough time has passed. The prescription will also have dosage information for how much you should take per day in order to get the benefits consistently until you are able to refill the prescription.
There is a motion on the ballot in November to legalize recreational marijuana in California. If it passes, it will regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol and tobacco: no sale to or use by minors, no driving impaired, etc. Adults will be able to grow their own marijuana, and all sales and grows will be taxed.
Colorado marijuana dispensaries
Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, and since doing so they have experienced a huge surge in economic growth. If you go to Colorado, it is absolutely legal for you to buy up to an ounce of pot at a dispensary (1/4 ounce if you have an out of state ID), as long as you have an ID that proves that you are over 21. It is illegal to own more than 1 ounce of weed in Colorado, but dispensaries do not keep track of how much you have bought. It is up to you and local law enforcement to make sure that you don’t just go from dispensary to dispensary buying an ounce of pot at each.
Thanks to Colorado’s legalization of pot, the experience of buying weed is very much like any other retail experience. Some dispensaries have a very high end aesthetic and advertise that they provide all the highest possible quality of cannabis. Some pot dispensaries have a hippie, earthy vibe. Some give the hipster feel of a coffee shop.
You cannot smoke your weed in a Colorado marijuana dispensary. That is illegal. In addition, it is illegal to smoke anywhere where you cannot smoke cigarettes. The best rule of thumb is to smoke in the privacy of your own home, balcony, or backyard.
If you buy pot in Colorado, you cannot transport it to any other state. You can’t put it in the mail. You can’t bring it to the airport. The marijuana stays in Colorado, and you have to consume it there if you want to have any.
Marijuana sales are incredibly lucrative in Colorado, and therefore they have spurred a huge economic boom. In 2015, marijuana sales (both recreational and medical) came up to a total of $996 million. In the first half of 2016, marijuana sales have already racked up to $486 million.
If you go to a dispensary in California, you have to go through some hoops to be able to get your pot. If you go to Colorado, they’re ready and willing to take your money and give you weed. All you have to do is be over 21 and buy an amount under the legal limit.