What’s up with “medical” and “recreational” cannabis in California? You might be surprised to learn the difference between the two: not much at all!

Here are some common questions we get at Little Trees:


Q: Do medical cannabis patients pay less tax than recreational cannabis customers?

A: Nope. Some medical retailers attempt to mislead patients by saying they pay “less tax” than recreational stores, but that’s just not true (unless they’re black market, who pay no tax at all). ALL consumers of cannabis goods, whether medical patients or not, are required to pay a 15% California cannabis excise tax. Depending on where the retailer is located, they might have some local taxes factored into the receipt as well, like Calaveras County’s Measure C tax of 7%. Finally, there is sales tax, which also varies depending on location (in Calaveras County, sales tax is 7.25%). There’s no escaping any of these taxes – with ONE exception!


To be exempt from the local sales tax on a medical cannabis transaction, a medical patient must possess the “State Medical Card”.

To get it: first have a dr’s recommendation for cannabis, then make an appointment with your local health department and pay an additional fee. (Since this fee is usually upwards of $100, plus the cost of the “regular” recommendation, in order for this to be worthwhile to a patient, they need to be spending at least $150/month on cannabis – consistently.)


BTW: All of our online menus feature tax-included pricing, so you’ll never have to wonder what your final total will be.

Q: Do medical patients get higher-dosed edibles?
A: No. Sadly, the days of the 1000mg Korova Black Bar and other famous edibles are far in the past. Only black market, unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services sell any kind of high-dose products now. All edibles (and drinks) are required to be 100mg or less total THC, with clearly marked servings of 10mg or less. If you’re disappointed by this decision, you’re not alone. As a medical retailer, we know firsthand how much our patients with cancer, severe chronic pain, and other issues were greatly benefited by high-dose edibles.

Q: So what are the differences then?
A: There are some small differences in allowed THC limits of concentrates and topicals, as well as daily purchase limits.


Edible cannabis products that are orally-dissolving, such as mouth strips and lozenges, may contain up to 500mg THC per package if sold only to medical patients. Concentrate and topical cannabis products have THC limits of 1,000 milligrams per package for the adult-use market and 2,000 milligrams per package for the medicinal market. Cannabis concentrates are not classified as edible products. Concentrates include products like tinctures, capsules, extracts, butter, cooking oils and vape cartridges.  The Heavy Hitters 2.2 gram cartridges are an example of the VERY FEW “medical only” cannabis products.


Purchase limits: At Adult Use retailers, customers (age 21 and up) are allowed to purchase up to 28.5 grams of cannabis (1 oz.) and up to 8 grams of concentrate per day. Medical patients (age 18 and up) can purchase up to EIGHT ounces per day of cannabis – no delineation between flower and concentrate. (Anti-cannabis folks who insist on keeping retailers “medical only” are actually enabling youths 18-20 to go and get their medical cards and purchase huge amounts of cannabis, isn’t that ironic?)

…Now that you know the actual differences between “medical” and “recreational” cannabis sales, isn’t it silly that we Calaveras Cannabis Retailers are forced to remain medical only?