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Medical vs Recreational Cannabis in Illinois - What is the Difference?

Oct 10th 2019

Medical vs Recreational Cannabis in Illinois - What is the Difference?

Article reviewed by James Samuel, MD.

People are asking important questions about medical cannabis versus adult-use cannabis: 

  • Why should I get a medical card?
  • What is the medical vs recreational tax in Illinois?
  • Are prices cheaper with a medical marijuana card?
  • How much does it cost to get a cannabis card?
  • Is it worth it?
  • Can’t I just go to a dispensary and buy cannabis anyway?

These are all valid questions. The information in this post and the video directly below will help you make an informed decision.

Inventory Is Legally Prioritized For Patients First

Whenever cannabis shortages impact the state, products must be made available to medical patients first, according to state law. As Illinois’ legal market continues to mature and dispensaries experience booming sales as an essential business during COVID-19 – certain products have indeed run short in recent months.

While some patients have had to advocate for stronger guidelines to maintain their priority standing in the midst of surging recreational sales – the law is still on their side.

In other words, if you want to minimize the risk of running out of cannabis – it helps if you are a registered patient.

Medical Cannabis Prices Are Lower Than Recreational

Medical cannabis is more affordable than adult-use cannabis.

Patients under the medical program can avoid up to a 34.75% tax which adult-use consumers will have to pay for on the very same products. 

That means that a medical patient will spend $101 whereas an adult consumer can spend up to of $134.75 for the exact same product.

Patients Can Grow Their Own Medical Cannabis

Obtaining a card may have an upfront cost attached, but the investment pays for itself after just a few purchases of products in an adult-use environment. 

However, one of the greatest benefits of being a medical cannabis patient in the state of Illinois is the legal right to cultivate your own cannabis at home. 

Patients under the Illinois medical cannabis program are able to cultivate up to five plants for personal possession and consumption.

If you are intimidated by the learning curve to growing your own cannabis, no worries. Our team is happy to recommend helpful resources.

Getting Your Medical Cannabis Card Is Now Easier Than Ever

Obtaining a medical cannabis card in Illinois is no longer as difficult as it used to be. 

In fact, through Compassionate Clinics of America, we have multiple locations around the state to provide convenient, effective, and affordable access to patients in need of assistance. 

Our team understands the ins and outs of this program and continues to help thousands of patients find relief – and a better quality of life. 

You can also engage with us via telemedicine, so you don’t ever have to leave your home!



medical vs recreational infographic

Have additional questions? Send them our way, or give us a call or schedule an appointment so we can assist you in whatever way you need.

We hope this infographic brought you some knowledge and value! Don’t forget to share with someone who can benefit, and follow us on Facebook for additional updates, news, and frequent discount offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider getting a medical cannabis card in Illinois?

A medical cannabis card offers several benefits to registered patients in Illinois. Firstly, it provides a legal priority for access to cannabis products, especially during shortages. Secondly, the cost of medical cannabis is significantly lower than recreational cannabis, as patients can avoid up to a 34.75% tax that adult-use consumers pay. Lastly, medical cannabis patients are legally allowed to cultivate up to five plants for personal use, an opportunity not available to recreational consumers.

Is obtaining a medical cannabis card a complicated process in Illinois?

Getting a medical cannabis card in Illinois is easier than ever. Compassionate Clinics of America offers convenient, effective, and affordable services to patients needing assistance, with multiple locations across the state. The process can even be conducted via telemedicine, meaning you can apply from the comfort of your own home. 

Is there a significant cost difference between medical and recreational cannabis?

Yes, there is a considerable cost difference between medical and recreational cannabis in Illinois. Patients with a medical cannabis card can avoid up to a 34.75% tax that recreational consumers are subjected to. For example, for the same product, a medical patient might spend $101, while a recreational user could spend up to $134.75.


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