Chart of the Week: Explosion of Nevada’s MMJ Patient Base as Dispensaries Near Launch

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By Jennifer Mann

Good news for medical marijuana companies hoping to open their doors in Nevada next year: The customer base is growing rapidly as dispensaries move closer to becoming a reality.

The number of registered medical cannabis patients in the state has jumped more 50% this year, from 4,989 at the end of January to 7,491 by the end of November, according to the latest data from the Nevada health department.

The patient base jumped by roughly 15% since October – highlighting increased interest from locals in registering for MMJ cards as the state’s dispensary program advances.

In early November, Nevada announced the winners of licenses for dispensaries, cultivation facilities and processing companies. The first dispensaries are expected to open by summer.

At current patient levels, Nevada’s medical cannabis market could generate nearly $15 million in annual sales, according to estimates by Marijuana Business Daily.

But that could be just the tip of the iceberg, considering that Nevada will allow patients with MMJ cards in other markets to purchase medical cannabis while visiting.

Las Vegas alone had almost 35 million visitors this year through October, so MMJ tourism dollars could be substantial. If the state’s patient base continues to grow at the current pace, the industry could generate millions of additional dollars in sales.

Jennifer Mann can be reached at