Recreational cannabis refers to regulated, retail marijuana that is legalized and taxed for adult use regardless of medical necessity. Recreational programs allow access for enjoyment and relaxation rather than requiring a doctor's recommendation. Dispensaries sell both recreational and medical cannabis—the products themselves are chemically identical, and distinction arises in how they are regulated.
Recreational cannabis carries taxes, potency caps, and purchase limits not imposed on medical patients. But the recreational market provides access to anyone over 21 in legal states. Typically an ID proves age, while medical programs require registering as a patient. Some consumers possess cards in medical states to avoid recreational taxes and purchase more.
Debates continue around recreational cannabis potentially encouraging abuse and juvenile access compared to tightly regulated medical programs. But legalization advocates argue that existing alcohol policy demonstrates the ineffectiveness of outlawing recreational substances for all adults.