Seniors Boosting MMJ Usage in AZ

Senior citizens in Arizona could be boosting medical marijuana usage.

According to a report by the state’s health department, Yavapai County had the highest per capita rate of medical marijuana use in Arizona last year. Located just north of Phoenix, Yavapai County also has one of the highest per capita populations of senior citizens in the state. The latest U.S. Census figures show that 26.3% of Yavapai County residents are 65 and older, compared to the statewide average of 14.8%.

Sheraz Warraich, manager of the Yavapai Herbal Services dispensary in Prescott Valley, said the majority of her customers are “older patients.” In Yavapai County, 14 out of every 1,000 residents are licensed to purchase medical marijuana. The state average is 6.57 per 1,000.

“Severe and chronic pain” was the medical condition most cited by Arizonans who were applying for medical marijuana licenses. In 2013, there were 44,675 active medical marijuana cardholders in the state.

The report, which was released Thursday, said patients and caregivers in Arizona bought nearly 6,000 pounds of marijuana in 2013, which generated almost $40 million in revenue. The report said younger patients – ages 18 to 30 – represented the largest demographic, while patients aged 51 to 60 were the third-largest. Nearly 70% of the patients were male. Patients completed 376,231 transactions in 2013, which averaged out to 9.5 purchases per patient.