Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient Numbers Rise for 6th Straight Month as Recovery Continues

The number of patients in Colorado with valid medical marijuana cards hit 98,910 in May, a 2% increase from April and the sixth consecutive monthly increase.

That’s good news for cannabis dispensaries, infused product manufacturers and other medical marijuana businesses in the state, which have a bigger market to tap than they did earlier this year.

The latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicates that interest in medical cannabis cards is recovering from a steep drop during the second half of 2011, when new regulations spooked patients and tens of thousands of residents failed to renew their cards. Some patients also delayed renewing until January, when the state cut the annual fee.

In May of last year, 127,444 patients in Colorado had valid cards. The patient registry reached a record high of 128,698 in June but then began to tumble, dipping to almost 80,000 by November. Since then, however, the number of Colorado patients with MMJ cards has risen each month.

Here are the numbers from the last six months, with the change from the previous month in parentheses:

May: 98,910 (+2.3%)

April: 96,709 (+3.6%)

March: 93,393 (+4.2%)

February: 89,646 (+5.3%)

January: 85,124 (+5.3%)

December: 82,089 (+1.9%)

While the totals have been increasing, the growth is slowing and seems on the verge of leveling off.  It seems unlikely at this point that the Colorado registry will fully recover to the 129,000 level seen in its heyday. But that won’t necessarily translate into a financial impact for existing businesses: The total number of MMJ centers in the state has declined as well (to roughly 650 versus more than 800 at the peak) since the new regulations went into effect last July.

The decline isn’t overly worrisome, as this type of fluctuation is to be expected in a new industry.

Other stats from the latest registry data:

– 68% of patients with cards are male

– The average age of card-holders is 42

– 56% of patients live in the Denver metro area (including Boulder)

– 94% of patients listed “severe pain” as their qualifying condition

– More than 900 physicians have recommended medical marijuana to patients in the state

One comment on “Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient Numbers Rise for 6th Straight Month as Recovery Continues
  1. KC on

    Working with patients every day allows great insights that go beyond statistics.

    Numbers can be twisted for good or bad.

    However, a growing base is a good thing in any market.

    Colorado is (no numbers required) now the leading medical marijuana market in America, and I would argue the world.

    Colorado is the great American marijuana experiment: licensed, approved, regulated taxed, and respected to a degree (but not accessible to big pharma).

    In many ways, medical marijuana has grown beyond numbers and digits – it has become in many communities a part of accepted daily life.

    That is revolutionary in America’s modern history!

    Each day I speak with patients that are coming here to purge themselves of hard addictive medicine given to them over the years. I’ve met vets from as far back as the Korean War to the 21 year old suffering from MS, medical marijuana is becoming a part of life for many Americans.

    I do offer a warning; as we’ve seen in California – medical marijuana expansion can go too far – too fast for some (the feds and local authorities.)

    My concern is that the Amendment 64 Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Colorado could produce a very short lived victory (yea, we won! let’s all smoke a bowl) to a wicked hangover that ends in a federal crackdown (see California) followed by local authorities voting to shut them all down (see California.)

    I hope I’m wrong, but if I’m right – watch out center owners, watch out caregivers, Voting YES on 64 could actually produce a very harsh, prompt and devastating result – the end of ALL marijuana (recreational and medical) in Colorado.

    I support legalization when the time, courts, and industry are ready.

    Now is NOT the time in Colorado. Center owners and patients are just now starting to find stability, affordability, and accessibility to America’s most advance medical marijuana.

    California was the queen of medical marijuana. Colorado is the king.

    If this were a game of chess, I’d suggest protecting your king.

    Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 64 Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

    Reply

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