A handful of recreational marijuana legalization drives has the medical pot industry bracing for something it never expected to deal with: competition, the Associated Press reports. Legalization is on the ballot in five states next week, and all five currently allow some form of medical marijuana already. Growers, medical professionals, and medical marijuana users worry that people who want medical marijuana will buy it on the open market instead of going through the hassle of getting a doctor’s recommendation. Some proponents believe medical marijuana professionals just don’t want to lose their monopoly. Recreational legalization measures are on ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Competition in the marijuana market has become part of the landscape in Colorado, which saw nearly $1 billion in sales of medical and recreational marijuana last year. The state went legal in 2012. Paul Armentano of the marijuana legalization group NORML said some medical users and advocacy groups worry about potential corporatization of marijuana as the market expands. Tension between medical and recreational marijuana supporters, he said, has already become an issue in California. Some advocates of medical marijuana feel state regulations are the key to making sure medical marijuana survives in the age of legal pot. In Massachusetts, the language has alarmed some critics who fear passage of the ballot question could compromise or perhaps even overrun the state’s medical marijuana program, which has already been slowed by regulatory delays since Massachusetts voters authorized it in 2012.