New York patients aren’t buying much medical marijuana

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.

6 comments on “New York patients aren’t buying much medical marijuana
    • joseph on

      I totally agree. It wouldn’t be an issue if the market demanded 5 more vertically integrated businesses, however there is barely a market for the 5 winners. Bloomfield couldn’t pay their vendors and was bought by MedMen. What did they think they would get by picking winners and losers and allowing more competition for all segments of the market. Absurd.

      Reply
  1. joseph on

    I’m all for expanding licenses, if the market demands it. The problem is the market doesn’t demand it because patients are having a hard time finding doctors who will write them prescriptions. Most importantly, access across the state is terrible. Of the 62 counties in New York State only 16 or so will have dispensaries. Onandoga county has 3-4 dispensaries alone while Broome has 1. If the State was really interested in a successful program it would have written a less restrictive law that would have given applicants the option of owning dispensaries, processing facilities and cultivation facilities separately. Mandated vertical integration of all medical marijuana segments hurt the program from the onset.

    Reply
  2. RF on

    There are significant structural issues with the medical cannabis market in NY. The cost to be in the business (NY requirements) combined with the limited number of patients (NY allowed conditions) forces licensees to seek high prices for their product in an attempt to recoup investment. High prices depress demand. Price elasticity is very real especially when there are alternatives. In NY it is only a misdemeanor to be caught growing up to 99 plants and only a violation to be caught with 25g or less of cannabis. Many cannabis consumers in NY (medical and recreational) are growing their own and/or purchasing from friends with less cost and hassle than the dispensaries.

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  3. Vin Hennessy on

    What are the prices in these NY dispensaries?
    Remember, these legal entities must compete with the guy, whom I dealt with for years, and his price is cheaper.

    Reply

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