Recent elections have given voters a chance to legalize 'recreational' marijuana, but what is it? The short answer is recreational marijuana is no different than medical marijuana or any other marijuana—they're all the same plant. The only thing that's different is the laws that govern how people can get their hands on it in each state.
States that have legalized medical marijuana have done so with state laws that allow people to get marijuana only after getting a medical card from their doctor. It's not really that difficult to get a medical card, especially when online tele-medicine specialists like Presto Doctor can do a Skype call with you and get you a card.
In a state where there's medical marijuana, a person with an easy-to-obtain medical card can now set foot into a dispensary and buy marijuana products.
With recreational marijuana, no medical card is required. Much like going into a bar or a liquor store, anyone over the age of 21 in a state with legalized recreational marijuana can walk into a dispensary (or other cannabis business) and purchase marijuana with nothing more than a driver's license.
Also, in a state with recreational marijuana, anyone over the age of 21 can possess marijuana and even grow plants at home for personal use.
Eventually we'll get rid of the 'recreational' moniker and just call it marijuana. It is often regulated like alcohol with similar rules as alcohol. We don't call alcohol 'recreational drinking' so we can expect to accept marijuana much the same way.
A final thought is we'll also eventually get rid of the word 'marijuana' and will replace it with 'cannabis', which is its scientific name.