Steady growth has characterized Arizona’s medical marijuana program over the past few years, and 2017 was no exception as the state reinforced its position as one of the nation’s largest MMJ markets.
Arizona’s MMJ program added over 38,000 patients to its rolls over the course of the year – a 34% increase – firmly establishing the state’s medical cannabis market as the third largest in the United States.
Arizona has more than 150,000 MMJ patients.
Sales of MMJ grew right alongside patient counts, with dispensaries moving a record 43 tons of MMJ throughout 2017.
That represents a 48% increase from the 29 tons of MMJ sold in 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about the situation:
- A young, mostly male patient base forms the foundation of Arizona’s flourishing MMJ program. Residents 18-30 years old account for a quarter of all the state’s registered MMJ patients, and nearly 50% of all patients are under 40. Some 61% of Arizona’s MMJ patients are male.
- Over 85% of MMJ patients in Arizona are using MMJ to treat chronic pain. Chronic pain is the conditions most often cited by MMJ patients in nearly every state where the ailment can be treated. But the numbers are especially high in Arizona. In the 11 states that publicly release patient counts by condition, the average portion of the patient base using MMJ to treat chronic pain is 62%.
- Although some have made the argument that Arizona’s young, male-dominant patient base is using MMJ more for recreational purposes than medical, sales have not exhibited the seasonal peaks and valleys seen in rec markets like Washington state and Colorado. But with patient counts rising each month, continual growth in MMJ sales may simply be explained by the ever-expanding patient pool.
- Arizona has licensed just 130 dispensaries to serve its large, growing market. This has presented an excellent opportunity for out-of-state infused product manufacturers looking to expand their reach. Two popular, Colorado-based infused products brands – Wana Brands and Incredibles – recently announced plans to enter Arizona’s MMJ though licensing agreements and partnerships.
Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]