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How Much Money Does a Medical Marijuana Card Really Save You?

Budgeting for marijuana is a lot more important if it's used as medicine.
Budgeting for marijuana is a lot more important if it's used as medicine. Shutterstock.com
Marijuana is sold for both medical and recreational purposes in Colorado, but it's definitely not sold at the same prices for both purposes. Not only is the cost of flower, concentrates and edibles cheaper for medical patients, but the taxes on those purchases are around 25 percent lower.

After paying a doctor's consulting fee – usually anywhere from $60 to $100 – and the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry application fee of $15, state medical marijuana patients are in the hole for a decent chunk of change. But buying enough medication can make up for the initial cost outlay.

Nearly 92,000 Coloradans had active medical marijuana cards as of July, according to the Medical Marijuana Registry. How much did they have to buy to start noticing the savings in their bank accounts? About four ounces, according to a study by Doctor Frank. While that isn't the fastest savings rate for patients in legalized states, it's still right up there.

The Doctor Frank study took the average price per ounce of flower and measured how many ounces a patient would have to buy to save money after the initial investment of getting a medical card. It included all eight states that have legalized retail marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Here are the study results:
click to enlarge WWW.DOCTORFRANK.COM
www.doctorfrank.com

Patients in Washington enjoy the best cannabis prices compared to their retail counterparts, according to Doctor Frank, and need to buy just three ounces of flower in order to realize savings. Getting a medical marijuana card in other states isn't as financially beneficial: Patients would have to purchase sixteen ounces in Maine before they start saving money, and those in Nevada wouldn't see any savings at all.


Oregon might seem unfriendly to patients because of how many ounces of medical marijuana they'd need to buy in order to save money, but that's because Oregon's retail marijuana is relatively inexpensive, at just over $200 an ounce. And since recreational pot shops in California, Maine and Massachusetts haven't opened yet, Doctor Frank used street prices for those comparisons.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell