With Illinois recently legalizing recreational cannabis along with medical, many people are wondering whether or not it’s worth it to keep their MMJ cards. When you directly compare Illinois medical marijuana vs. recreational cannabis, it becomes a bit easier to see which is the best option for you. So, should you keep your Illinois medical marijuana card, or should you stick with recreational cannabis buying? Let’s find out.

Elevate Holistics logo next to budding cannabis flower
Illinois Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Cannabis

Should I Keep My Illinois Medical Marijuana Card?

Since Illinois legalized medical marijuana back in 2013, thousands upon thousands of residents went through the process of obtaining their MMJ cards. And for good reason, too! However, in 2019, the state decided to also legalize adult-use or recreational marijuana, leaving medical patients wondering what their next steps should be. A lot of them began asking, “Should I keep my Illinois medical marijuana card?” 

Of course, the answer here is a bit subjective, and it will depend on your personal preferences at the end of the day. But, here at Elevate Holistics, we still see huge advantages of keeping your Illinois MMJ card and continuing to be a medical patient in the Land of Lincoln. 

While consuming recreational cannabis may not require you to meet with a qualified physician and pay a fee, you’re ultimately not going to get the same treatment as you would if you were a cardholding medical patient. Believe it or not, there are some serious perks that come with keeping your Illinois medical marijuana card. 

Have Questions About IL MMJ?

The Perks

Choosing between Illinois medical marijuana vs. recreational cannabis may seem a bit confusing at first. But, that’s why we’re here. Let’s take a look at all of the incredible perks you get from keeping your MMJ card and purchasing medical marijuana instead of adult-use cannabis. 

Saves Money

It may not seem like it at first glance, but having an Illinois medical marijuana card can save you some money in the long run. When you first receive your IL MMJ card, you will have to pay an initial application fee. The cost of this fee will depend on how long you want your card to be valid for— either one, two, or three years. These prices range between $50-$100. There is also the chance that your visit with a qualified physician may cost you some cash, too.

However, once you’ve paid these fees, you’ll quickly earn back your money just through your everyday shopping trips. As an Illinois medical marijuana patient, you have to pay a measly 1% sales tax on top of your cannabis or cannabis products’ price. Compared to recreational consumers, this seems like absolutely nothing.

Unfortunately, those who enjoy adult-use marijuana must pay a 6.25% sales tax on top of the cost of the products, as well as an additional Cannabis Purchaser Excise Tax. This tax will vary depending on the amount of THC that’s in the adult-use product you’re buying. The higher the THC percentage, the bigger the fee you’ll have to pay alongside your product’s taxes and cost.

Even if you’re purchasing just one pre-roll, if this joint has a higher THC percentage than eighth of flower, you’ll still have to pay more in purchaser’s taxes. If your product has less than 35% THC, you’ll have to pay 10%, and if it is more, you’re subjected to a hefty 25% purchaser’s tax. 

With fees like these, the cost of your Illinois medical marijuana card pays itself off in just a few dispensary trips. Meanwhile, recreational consumers are left paying way too much money every time they make a purchase— especially a potent one. 

At-Home Cultivation

Besides saving money through fees, you can also save serious cash by growing cannabis plants as a medical patient in Illinois. Those with a valid medical marijuana card can grow up to five mature plants in their household at one time. When cultivating, these plants must be properly stored, enclosed, and not accessible by any other non-cardholding members of the home or the public. 

If you’re purely purchasing adult-use cannabis, you do not have access to at-home cultivation whatsoever. Recreational cannabis consumers, legally, cannot grow any cannabis at home. Non-medical at-home growers will be punished by law if plants are found in the residence. 

Growing cannabis at home is a wonderful way to get the plants you need and save yourself some serious money. It’s important to note that growing marijuana is not an easy task and will likely take a lot of time and practice to perfect. But, if you’re an Illinois medical marijuana patient, you have all the time in the world to get it right. That, in and of itself, is incentive enough to hold onto your IL MMJ card.

You’re Always A Priority 

When comparing Illinois medical marijuana vs. recreational cannabis, it’s clear that medical patients are prioritized. In general, MMJ cardholders receive more protection than those purchasing cannabis recreationally. What we mean by this is that the state has regulations in place that ensure, in the case of any cannabis shortage, medical patients are prioritized and protected.  

There are also some medical dispensaries across the state that prioritize medical patients over recreational consumers. This means they have priority or express lanes specifically for medical patients, espeically when things get busy. Having this sort of “shortcut” can make your dispensary experience so much better, quicker, and all the more comfortable for you.

Illinois Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational: Which is Better?

If you put medical marijuana and recreational cannabis side-by-side, you’d see that they both have their pros and cons. However, for a lot of people, the reassurance that comes with having a medical marijuana card in Illinois can make it more than worth it to pay a small fee for your card itself.

But, at the end of the day, the choice is yours! When putting Illinois medical marijuana vs. recreational cannabis, one isn’t inherently “better” than the other. They’re just different.

Let Elevate Help You Decide

If you’re interested in getting your Illinois medical marijuana card but don’t know where to start, let Elevate Holistics guide you throughout the process. We specialize in providing online one-on-one MMJ appointments with cannabis experts to help you get your medical card in an easy, convenient way. Whether you’re hoping to renew your card or get one for the very first time, we’re here to reassure you of your decision. After all, having a medicinal cannabis card in Illinois is more than worth the time it takes to get one.