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How Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient Saves You Money

Jul 27th 2023

How Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient Saves You Money

As of summer 2023, 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, yet despite increased access, millions of patients nationwide still participate in their state medical marijuana programs by getting their medical marijuana card.

In previous articles, we have discussed some of the benefits to having your medical marijuana card in a recreational marijuana state. These benefits include: legal protection, access to products for medical outcomes, state reciprocity while traveling, and access to pediatric cannabis. However, one of the most notable benefits of having a medical marijuana card is lower taxes. For some states, the difference in the amount of taxes cannabis patients pay compared to consumers on the recreational market can be staggering.

This is a guide to the tax rates and laws in the 24 states that Compassionate Clinics of America operates within to provide people with support in getting their medical card. By breaking it down state-by-state, we will demonstrate the differences in taxes that medical marijuana patients pay versus recreational cannabis customers. At the bottom of this article, we provide you with some helpful tips on how to stretch a dollar when it comes to being a medical marijuana patient.

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How Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient Saves You Money

Before we break it down state-by-state, it’s important to provide a general overview of how cannabis is taxed. Medical and recreational cannabis are taxed differently in the United States due to their distinct legal status and purposes.

In states where they’ve legalized medical marijuana, it is typically subject to a lower tax rate compared to recreational cannabis. This is because medical cannabis is primarily intended for therapeutic use by patients with qualifying medical conditions. The reduced tax burden is aimed at making medical products more accessible and affordable to those who rely on it for medicinal purposes. The specific tax rates and regulations vary from state to state, with some states exempting medical cannabis from certain taxes altogether.

On the other hand, recreational cannabis, which is intended for adult-use and non-medical purposes, is subject to higher tax rates in states where it is legalized.

How and Why Cannabis is Taxed

States use recreational cannabis as a means to generate revenue for the state and fund various public programs and services. The taxation of recreational cannabis often includes excise taxes, sales taxes, and additional local taxes, resulting in a higher overall cost for consumers than what they’d pay for medicinal marijuana.

The rates and structure of these taxes also vary widely among states that have legalized recreational cannabis, with some states opting for a flat tax rate, while others use a percentage-based tax system or base it on the amount of THC present in a product.

Additionally, the revenue generated from the taxation of recreational cannabis can be allocated to support initiatives such as education, public health, law enforcement, and substance abuse treatment programs. States generate millions of dollars annually from recreational marijuana taxes.

While we can appreciate that the high taxation of recreational marijuana helps with important programs and services within our states, cities, and towns, medical cannabis patients simply cannot afford to see cannabis as a luxury that they can afford to pay a little extra in taxes for. Many of our patients need cannabis just to start their day, and many more rely on regular, high doses of cannabis medicine throughout their days, and every day. Therefore, it is imperative that medical marijuana patients save money where they are able to ensure they can remain in full access of cannabis’ therapeutic benefits.

How Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient Saves You Money

State-By-State Guide to Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana Taxes

Below we will list the various states we serve in helping patients get their medical marijuana card and the various tax rates of each as of summer 2023.


Arkansas patients are required to pay a 6.50% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. There is also an additional excise tax of 4% on every purchase at a medical marijuana dispensary. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Arkansas.


A sales and use tax exemption applies to retail sales of medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products, and topical cannabis in California, however, medical cannabis patients in California still have to pay the 15% excise tax.

Recreational users bear a heavier burden of 23-38%, depending on the municipality. California has one of the highest tax rates in the whole country for recreational marijuana users.


State recreational cannabis taxes include a standard 6.35% sales tax and an excise tax, which changes based on the amount of THC sold per unit. Medical marijuana is taxed at the same rate in the state, so unfortunately you don’t save money in taxes in Connecticut.


Those who purchase Low THC Oil from medical marijuana dispensaries in Georgia are exempt from paying taxes. Recreational cannabis is illegal in Georgia.


Illinois patients are required to pay a 1.00% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. Illinois is one of the states in which you can most save money from being a medical marijuana patient, as recreational cannabis is taxed on its value, anywhere from 10-25%.


In Iowa, those with a medical cannabis card pay 4% sales taxes on cannabis products. It is still illegal in the state for recreational purposes.


In Louisiana, those with a mmj card are obligated to pay a 7% sales tax on each medical marijuana purchase. There are no additional excise taxes on medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana remains illegal in the state at this time.


Maine patients are required to pay a 5.50% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. There is no additional excise tax on medical marijuana in Maine. Those who consume cannabis for recreational purposes in Maine are required to pay a 10% sales tax on every purchase of marijuana for personal use. Becoming a mmj patient is a more cost effective way to consume cannabis in the state of Maine.


Sale of adult-use cannabis in Maryland is subject to a sales and use tax rate of 9%. Sales and use tax does not apply to cannabis purchased by an individual with a medical card in the state of Maryland.


Massachusetts applies a sales tax of 6.25% to all sales of cannabis and cannabis-infused products. Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts avoid paying the standard sales tax on medical marijuana products.


Michigan patients are required to pay a 6.00% sales tax on every purchase of medical and recreational marijuana. There is an additional 10% excise tax that is charged on recreational cannabis in Michigan. Medical patients in Michigan do not have to pay the additional excise tax.


Medical cannabis is not subject to a tax in Minnesota for mmj patients. With the incoming recreational program, recreational cannabis could be taxed up to 10% in retail tax, in addition to the 6.875% sales tax in the state.


Missouri patients are required to pay a 4.00% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana, with no additional excise tax on medical marijuana in Missouri. Retail cannabis for adult use is illegal in Missouri.


Montana charges a low 4% tax on medical marijuana and marijuana products sales, compared to the 20% tax that is added to adult use marijuana and marijuana products sales.

New Jersey

Those who purchase cannabis for recreational use in the state can expect to pay a 6.625% sales tax. However, as of July 2022, medical cannabis patients were exempt from paying the sales taxes on their medical cannabis products, indicating that patients save more money when they have a medical marijuana card.

New York

Medical marijuana patients in New York pay a 7% excise tax on cannabis products, while recreational users pay 13% tax on cannabis purchased.


Ohio patients are required to pay a 5.75% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. There is no additional excise tax on medical marijuana in the state. Recreational marijuana is illegal in Ohio at present and can only purchased with a medicinal marijuana card.


Oklahoma patients with medical condition are required to pay a 4.50% sales tax on every purchase of medical marijuana. There is also an additional excise tax of 7% on every purchase of medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana is illegal in Oklahoma presently and can only be accessed with a medical marijuana card issued by a medical marijuana doctor with one or more of the qualifying conditions.


Medical marijuana is subject to a medical excise tax of 7%. Medical cannabis is not subject to a sales tax. Cannabis is not legal for recreational purposes in Pennsylvania.


There are no taxes on medical marijuana products in Texas. It is still illegal for recreational use in the state.


There are no taxes on medical marijuana purchases in Utah.


Virginia cannabis patients do not pay taxes on medical cannabis products. Virginia’s adult-use program will be one of the highest taxed in the country. Virginia’s adult-use stores, which are scheduled to open in 2024, will collect a 21% state cannabis excise tax in addition to the statewide 5.3% sales tax. In addition, 3% tax may be added by the local municipality.

West Virginia

Medical cannabis is not subject to West Virginia sales tax.

Other Ways to Save Money with Your Medical Marijuana Card

Even though we have shown that in many cases, those with a medical marijuana card automatically save money in sales, excise, and retail taxes when they make their purchases, there are several ways that medical cannabis patients can save money and stretch the value of their dollar when it comes to medicating a chronic condition.

How Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient Saves You Money

Here are a few ways cannabis consumers can save money:

Consider Home Cultivation

While we recognize that not all states we serve permit home cultivation, growing your own cannabis is an excellent way to save money on cannabis purchases, especially if you consume in large quantity.

However, be advised that cultivation in itself has its own expenses, including plant nutrients, light, and water, nevermind all the materials you need. Before considering home growing, do a budget to determine whether you will save money.

Seek Out Dispensary Deals

Always check out what your local dispensary is offering in terms of deals. Seek out compassionate care programs and discounts for those with medical marijuana cards to find more access cost-effective medical options.

If you’re able and if your dispensary offers it, opt for bulk purchases or subscription plans, allowing you to save money by buying larger quantities at discounted rates. Most dispensaries also have an email list that will notify you of upcoming sales and special offers that you may want to subscribe to.

Try Different Strains & Consumption Methods

Sometimes all you need to do is switch it up to have a different kind of experience with your cannabis.

Explore alternative consumption methods, such as vaporizers, cannabis concentrates, or edibles, which may help stretch your cannabis supply and potentially lead to savings.

Similarly, while it’s all too easy to reach for your familiar strains (cultivars), try different marijuana strains that you may not be familiar with. With thousands of different types of marijuana plants on the market right now, you may be surprised at what you will find in terms of potency level, terpene profile, and psychoactive effects.

Eat Foods that Enhance Cannabis’ Absorption into Your Body

By incorporating healthy snacks into your diet, you can boost the impact of cannabinoids on your body via your endocannabinoid system while saving money at the dispensary. Foods rich in terpenes, such as citrus fruits, herbs, and spices, offer wellness benefits and also help enhance the effects of the cannabis you consume.

Additionally, healthy fats, omega fatty acid-rich snacks like eggs, walnuts, nut butter, and fatty fish can increase cannabinoid absorption, supporting your endocannabinoid system. It’s important to strike a balance, as excessive omega fatty acids could downregulate cannabinoid receptors and exacerbate certain symptoms.

It’s also important when consuming edibles that you do not consume on an empty stomach as the cannabinoids need something to grab on to when going through your system.

Try Different Dosing & Timing of Doses

Optimize your medical cannabis dosing by experimenting with timing to enhance its effectiveness. Your body’s receptiveness to cannabinoids can vary throughout the day, so finding the right periods for dosing can save both cannabis and money.

Adjusting when, how much, and the potency level of your medical cannabis may yield better results for your specific needs. Some medical cannabis users, for instance, try microdosing, or using small doses of cannabis throughout certain periods of the day, rather than taking large doses of cannabis fewer times a day as a way to use less cannabis.

Become a Medical Cannabis Patient and Save Money Today!

We hope we have successfully demonstrated how becoming a medical cannabis patient can save you money in many of the states served by Compassionate Clinics of America.

If you or someone you love is considering getting a medical cannabis card in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, & West Virginia, please reach out to us today to allow us to guide you through the entire process of getting your certification and completing all the steps to getting your medical cannabis card.

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