Vermont medical marijuana patient count plateaus; some blame recreational MJ

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Vermont’s medical cannabis patient registry growth has plateaued in recent months at roughly 6,000, and it’s not showing any signs of picking back up any time soon.

The change may stem from the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana consumption come July 1, the Burlington Free Press reported.

It isn’t a good sign for Vermont’s MMJ dispensaries, which aren’t allowed to sell recreational cannabis.

If MMJ patients in the state don’t see any value in paying to participate in the medical cannabis program, that could put a serious dent in dispensary sales.

The state’s new rec marijuana system relies on home cultivation. It allows anyone 21 or older to grow outdoors and to possess up to an ounce of cannabis at a time, but registered MMJ patients aren’t allowed to grow outdoors.

“A patient shouldn’t have to choose between spending an extra $300/month on electricity bills, or paying $400 an ounce from a dispensary,” patient advocate Nick Karabelas wrote to lawmakers in May.

The Vermont Legislature killed a bill in April that would have allowed for recreational marijuana sales.