Medical Cannabis vs Recreational Dispensaries in Massachusetts

Choosing a cannabis dispensary is an important decision. You want to be sure you’re getting high-quality products. You want to feel welcome when you walk through the front door. In Massachusetts, you’ll also need to decide between a medical or recreational dispensary.

A medical dispensary is a legal shop that sells cannabis only for medical purposes. In other words, you’re using the products you purchase to help treat a specific ailment. These dispensaries exist essentially because federal law prohibits pharmacies from dispensing cannabis, and you need to meet a few requirements to shop there. Recreational dispensaries — also called adult-use dispensaries — also sell cannabis products. However, these dispensaries sell to any adult over the age of 21. 

Medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries share a lot of similarities. They also have a few distinct differences worth noting that could impact the decision of which one you choose. 

Similarities: Medical Cannabis vs. Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries

Medical and recreational dispensaries in Massachusetts are legal cannabis stores. They have licenses to sell a range of products to cannabis users. All products each type of store sells also need to undergo third-party testing. Other similarities include the following.

Payment for Products

Due to federal regulations regarding credit and debit transactions, dispensaries generally only accept cash. 

Online Menus

Most dispensaries have websites with menus detailing their products. In many cases, you can order your products online for in-store pickup. 

Knowledgeable Staff

The best dispensaries have friendly, knowledgeable budtenders who can help guide you through choosing the best products. 

Differences Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries

Now let’s take a look at some of the most notable differences between medical and recreational dispensaries in Massachusetts.

Entrance and Purchase Conditions

To purchase cannabis from a medical dispensary, you need to have a recommendation from your doctor for a qualifying health condition. You’ll also need to register with the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana program. Patients 18 and older can enter a dispensary. 

To enter and purchase from a recreational cannabis dispensary, you must be at least 21 years old. You’ll only need to show your driver’s license to prove your age. 

Purchasing Limits

Medical cannabis patients can purchase up to a 60-day supply of ten ounces from a medical dispensary. The limit for recreational use is one ounce of cannabis flower.


There’s a 10.75% excise tax on recreational cannabis on top of the 6.25% sales tax. Some areas of Massachusetts may charge an additional 3% for local taxes. Medical users aren’t subject to these taxes when shopping at a medical dispensary. 


Massachusetts doesn’t recognize out-of-state cannabis cards. That means if you’re only visiting the state, you won’t be able to purchase your products from a medical dispensary. However, you can shop at any recreational shop as long as you’re at least 21 and have your ID.  

Where To Find Quality Recreational Cannabis In Massachusetts

Where you shop matters. For the highest quality recreational cannabis in Massachusetts, look no further than Campfire Cannabis. We’re dedicated to providing an array of premium products as well as personalized experiences for every customer. 

Whether you’re a new or experienced user, Massachusetts resident, or visitor, Campfire Cannabis looks forward to helping you find the best products for your needs and goals. Check out Campfire Cannabis online or visit the dispensary in person today!

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