There are two somewhat contradictory schools of thought regarding medical marijuana. One school says, “Treat it like any other medication.” This view, while often well-intentioned, is tainted by the people who wish very strongly to use vague claims of pain issues as a cover to obtain pot. There is an interesting correlation here to medicine–there are a handful of doctors who will give a medical card to just about anybody, just in the same way that a handful of doctors hand out long-established pain medications like candy to just about anybody.
The other school of thought says, “Regulate it like we regulate alcohol.” This school, while also well-intentioned, has “bleed-over” from the commercial side of marijuana, and is influenced heavily by the thought and perception of marijuana as an illegal drug, and the same argument is sometimes used by people who wish to legalize other drugs as well.
What is happened is a somewhat unintentional combining of the two. Some aspects of the regulatory system treat medical marijuana more or less like any other medical issue. Other aspects treat it more like liquor stores, adult bookstores, etc., are treated (a dispensary must be X number of feet from schools, etc).
And then to complicate things even further, you’ve got the oils and other products that are explicitly designed to be therapeutic in nature, so they are very, very low in THC, and on the other hand you’ve got the modern, potent strains designed for smoking.
My cite is that I’ve lived in Colorado for a long time, and I’ve seen this play out over the last several years.