New York patients aren’t buying much medical marijuana

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

New York’s nearly 13,000 medical cannabis patients apparently aren’t enthusiastic about their purchase options at the state’s dispensaries.

The first New York dispensary opened over a year ago, in January 2016, but only 10,250 patients have made a purchase and just 6,403 have been repeat buyers, Politico reported Friday.

The figures don’t portend a profitable future for New York’s MMJ businesses unless some dramatic changes are made to the program.

One of the five New York licensees, PharmaCann, told Politico it’s using only 8%-10% of its production capacity because it hasn’t had enough patient demand to maximize its capabilities. At this point, the company is seeing only about 250-300 patients per month, Politico reported.

Some of the licensees are trying to adapt. Etain, for example, is offering a repeat customer discount.

But unless the program is changed to bring more patients into the fold, Etain has enough inventory to last only another 18-24 months, the company told Politico.

Another licensee, Vireo Health, has obtained permission to deliver MMJ. A third was recently purchased by a California-based MMJ management company, MedMen.

Regulators have been trying to bolster the struggling medical cannabis program with other reforms, such as adding chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions and making it easier for patients to register.

But they’ve also been looking at expanding the number of licensed MMJ producers, which could make life even harder for companies already in the market.