closeup of a caucasian doctor man, in a white coat, sitting at his desk, with some marihuana buds in his hand

Three dozen states now have medical marijuana laws on the books. With each passing year, another state or two gets on board. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington seem to be looking for ways they can either legalize or reschedule marijuana without creating too much political fallout. What does it all mean for medical marijuana? Inevitable death.

Mention that in a group of pro-cannabis supporters and you risk being run out of town. If you think I have lost my mind on this, bear with me and read this entire post. I believe medical marijuana’s death is inevitable. But that does not mean I think legal marijuana is going away. In fact, it is just the opposite.

Why We Have the Distinction

The culture differentiates between medical cannabis and recreational marijuana. Same plant; same THC. Yet we make the distinction as a way of defining the reasons people use the drug. It probably doesn’t matter to actual users. But it does matter to lawmakers and regulators.

Colorado is among nearly two-dozen states that have okayed both medical cannabis and recreational marijuana. On the other hand, Utah has only given the green light to medical cannabis. Utah lawmakers have decided that only state residents with certain medical conditions can legally use marijuana. Furthermore, they can only use it as a medical treatment.

Colorado residents need to follow a few medical cannabis rules, but the rules are merely paper regulations. In reality, they are meaningless. In Colorado, buying recreational pot is still cheaper and easier than buying medical cannabis. Guess which one sells better? The same holds true in California. This is why I contend that medical marijuana’s death is inevitable.

Medical Cannabis Will Become Obsolete

Medical cannabis users cite a variety of health conditions for which they rely on pot as a treatment. The most common complaint, according to the experts at, is pain. Chronic pain patients make up the single largest group of medical cannabis users.

Strict regulations in Utah require patients looking to use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain to get medical cannabis cards before they can legally purchase cannabis products at state-licensed pharmacies. But chronic pain patients in Colorado can drive to the nearest neighborhood dispensary and buy recreational pot to their hearts’ content. They do not have to go through the hassle of getting a medical cannabis card, seeing a doctor, etc.

At some point, Washington lawmakers are going to figure out how to legalize marijuana and still survive politically. And when that day comes, you can bet that marijuana will be regulated just like alcohol. You can also bet that medical cannabis will immediately become obsolete. There will be no need for it.

People Are Happy to Self-Medicate

There is this strange belief that federal legalization would not harm the medical cannabis industry because the products it produces are more pure and of higher potency. The belief is that medical cannabis users will happily continue jumping through hoops to get their cards and pay higher prices at the cash register to get medical products.

It is not going to happen. People are happy to self-medicate in whatever way works for them. For the vast majority, this means buying less expensive marijuana at recreational dispensaries. If you need proof, just look at what’s going on in California. The illicit market continues to strangle the legal market because people can buy pot on the street a lot cheaper than they can in a dispensary.

Medical marijuana’s death is inevitable. It will be killed by his own obsolescence. That could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Regardless, marijuana itself is not going away. Ever.

By Rehan

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