Chart: Arizona’s medical marijuana market grows toward maturity

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Patient growth in Arizona’s vast medical cannabis industry shows signs of slowing as the market matures.

From January 2018 to November 2018, Arizona added more than 27,000 new patients, boosting patient counts 17% to above 183,000.

While this helps the state maintain its status as one of the nation’s largest medical marijuana markets, Arizona is on track to see a slight decrease in year-to-year growth. 2017 added more than 38,000 patients.

Arizona’s patient base has boomed over the past three years, more than doubling since December 2015.

As new markets approach maturity – especially markets that have expanded rapidly – a decline in growth is expected.

Although patient count growth may be slowing in Arizona, quantities purchased have continued to increase.

In 2017, medical patients purchased a record 43 tons of MMJ, up 48% over the 29 tons sold in 2016. With one month of reporting left for the year, Arizona has already sold more than 55 tons, 30% higher than in all of 2017.

A June 2018 Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that cannabis extracts are illegal was expected to have a dampening effect on market growth within the state, even though the state attorney general withdrew his challenge to an appeal of that ruling.

But both patient counts and quantities sold continued to rise in the following months, even though the case is still listed as active in the Arizona Supreme Court’s docket.

Here’s what else you need to know about Arizona’s MMJ market:

  • The patient base is young and male: 45% are 18-40 years old, and 60% are men. From January 2018 to November 2018, this breakdown of patient demographics remained consistent.
  • 88% of patients are treating chronic pain, compared to an average of 62% across the 11 states that tracked and reported this metric in 2017.
  • More than half the state’s patients – 64% – reside in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, while another 14% reside in Tucson’s Pima County.
  • The Marijuana Business Factbook 2018 estimates Arizona will reach $425 million to $475 million in sales in 2018, roughly a 22% increase over 2017.

Maggie Cowee can be reached at

Eli McVey can be reached at