The Future of Medical Marijuana

As of this writing, 36 states have legalized medical marijuana businesses, and 15 states have also approved sales for adult recreational use. So what does the future of medical marijuana look like, especially where cannabis is also legal for recreational use? Will medical marijuana be phased out? 

In a fully legal marijuana market like Arizona, the recreational weed rollout stems from the existing network of medical marijuana growers, infusers, and dispensaries. Gradually, new licenses for recreational-focused growers and dispensaries will be issued, expanding the range of offerings available to cannabis users. Rest assured, patients, medical marijuana is not going anywhere. With the marijuana industry sales expected to grow to an astonishing $100B by 2030, there is plenty of room for both segments to thrive.

According to this recent article in the New York Times, of the four states to legalize recreational use in the November 2020 election, only Arizona is selling recreational products so far while others are still trying to get their programs off the ground. Way to go, Arizona!

The Flower Shop AZ Within the Marijuana Industry

OK, we’ll try not to pat ourselves on the back too hard, but The Flower Shop was one of the first established dispensaries in Arizona to launch recreational sales on January 22, 2021. That’s got to be some sort of record for the deployment of recreational products in the legal marijuana market. Even if it isn’t, The Flower Shop did get named in the New York Times, so you can feel free to brag about your famous homegrown dispensary to friends. (We won’t mind.)

Our team had already done the planning, so we transitioned to including recreational sales pretty seamlessly, even though wait times got pretty crazy the first few weeks. We’ve streamlined online ordering or ordering through our app in order to serve everyone safely with minimal wait times. Plus, our medical patients always have priority access, so everyone is happy and gets the top quality products they need (or want to try) in Arizona’s now fully legal marijuana market.

The Medical Marijuana Business Side

The medical marijuana business is centered on serving the needs of patients with qualifying health conditions. Marijuana is a form of medicine that promises many future applications as more research studies and trials reveal new healing properties and conditions, and new cannabis-based medications are discovered. Medical marijuana patients pay a fee for evaluation and license fees. 

Once approved, The State of Arizona Medical Marijuana Patient ID card qualifies holders to purchase larger amounts of cannabis with more frequency from licensed providers. The available strains and products are also available in higher potency doses than those permitted for recreational use. Medical marijuana users pay a 5.6 percent state sales tax, plus county and city taxes. Recreational customers are happily paying an added 16 percent excise tax on top.

The Future of Medical Marijuana Markets

As of December 2020, there were an estimated 4.35M medical marijuana patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana. In 2020, the pandemic helped drive home the fact that cannabis, hemp, and derivatives are essential medicine for millions of people. In fact, in 2020, total legal cannabis sales rose by 71 percent over 2019! As the medicinal benefits of cannabis continue to be strengthened and proven by ongoing research, product innovations, patient testimonials, and word of mouth, more states will adopt, assuming federal legalization continues to lag behind the times.

Arizona’s Benefits From the Marijuana Industry

Combined, medical and recreational marijuana sales brought in $2,077,436 in total taxes for January. That includes $226,355 in recreational sales tax and another $522,520 in recreational excise tax.- Phoenix New Times 

Arizona medical patients also bought around 106 tons of the medicinal plant in some form in 2020, up 34 percent from 2019. As of February 2021, Arizona medical patient numbers are also at an all-time high of 301,000+ licensed patients. While the number of applicants for medical marijuana will eventually level off, recreational users are enthusiastically spending. The future of medical marijuana and recreational sales looks great, and all Arizonans benefit in the end.

Want a small cannabis thrill? Take a look at this visual map of the U.S. detailing legal marijuana markets, including medical marijuana, recreational cannabis, and fully legal adult sales here.

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