Chart: Arizona’s medical marijuana market grows toward maturity

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 [email protected]

Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]

4 comments on “Chart: Arizona’s medical marijuana market grows toward maturity
  1. George N Bingham II on

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to take a look at these numbers and understand that this is nothing more than a ruse for diversion. As a longtime pharmacist I am a passionate believer in the future of medical CBD. But until Washington is no longer controlled by big Pharma the chances of getting Cannabis reclassified to either a C-II, C-III, C-IV or C-V are very dim. Yes, I know that Epidiolex is a C-V and this gives me hope.

    Washington has the power to truly eliminate the Opioid crisis and provide many Americans with safe solutions to their unresolved ongoing medical situation. Why? Because Cannabis treats the source of these medical issues and not the symptoms. Big Pharma only treats symptoms!

    In addition, there needs to be consistent laws and regulations that apply to all states. These regulations will improve the image and help eliminate the diversion of medical CBD/THC products. There needs to be proper professional supervision and medical follow up. Especially when CBD is being prescribed to children with certain nervous system conditions. By incorporating trained pharmacy professionals you will provide higher quality patient counseling for medical patients as well as recreational patients.

    The bottom line is (yes, I’m also a CPA) improved patient outcomes, improved medical image of CBD as a true medical resource and improved control of CBD from diversion.

    George N. Bingham, II

    • Gina Berman, MD on

      Mr. Bingham, Ignoring the medical benefit of THC (you know, the molecule that directly engages the most prominent G-type protein receptor in the brain?) is misguided. Psychoactivity does not equal recreational, just look at the pharmacopoeia, which as a longtime pharmacist I am sure you are all too familiar with.

      There is no ruse when you acknowledge that over 100 million adults in the United States report suffering from chronic pain and that, when made available, patients choose to replace pharma with cannabis. As a standard, if a patient replaces a pharmaceutical with a cannabis product, it is a de facto medical use, whether their reasons make it onto some fabricated list of approved conditions or not.

      The regulations you desire will never materialize until the cognitive dissonance between what we have been taught about cannabis and what the realities are is resolved.

  2. FOCUS on

    It would be amazing to be able to correlate the lack in patient growth to the fact that Arizona offers no protections for the health and safety of its patients. Unfortunately, all this data shows is an increase in diversion.


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