In Oregon, the cost of a medical marijuana card is $200. For patients that don’t require much medical marijuana, they say it’s more cost effective to purchase in the recreational market. Recreational sales are now making up for 70-percent of the state’s marijuana sales.
Patient Nicole Shaffer says she’s used medical marijuana for four years, according to OPB FM Radio. She let her card lapse because it costs less for her to purchase from the recreational market. She isn’t the only patient doing so.
Shaffer said, “To buy, like, a $12 gram here and there is going to be way more cost effective than to go out and spend $200 on a medical card.”
The number of medical marijuana patients in Oregon has dropped 10,000 since recreational marijuana became legal. Roughly 80-percent of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries have applied to sell recreational marijuana. Little Amsterdam Dispensary closed its medical marijuana dispensary.
Renee Barnes says that the sales were split nearly evenly between recreational and medical marijuana.
Barnes said, “Now we see about 70 percent recreational and 30 percent medical customers.”
Medical marijuana patients are permitted to purchase more marijuana at lower prices. That isn’t stopping them from going to recreational shops though. Barnes thinks the state favors recreational marijuana to medical marijuana.
Barnes said, “You know it’s kind of maybe become the ugly stepchild.”
Dr. Christian Le of Green Earth Medicine is frustrated with the state’s ignored promise of favoring medical marijuana over recreational marijuana. The tax revenues recreational marijuana sales seem to get more attention.
Medical marijuana sales aren’t taxed in Oregon but recreational marijuana sales are taxed up to 20-percent. He says the state is allowing the medical marijuana market to wither away.
Le said, “The people who made cannabis legal, as it is today, are actually being thrown to the curb. Whether it’s people in the industry making profits off it or whether it’s the state making taxation out of it, that seems to be 99 percent of the focus.”
Medical marijuana growers are also affected. They’re subjected to the same regulations as recreational growers but don’t grow on the same scale. The fees are becoming too much for medical marijuana growers. Oregon continues to create tighter regulations for both industries, but it’s medical marijuana industry seems to be suffering the most.