Colorado expected to see a decline in patients seeking medical marijuana with the advent of the state’s newly legalized recreational pot industry, but recent statistics indicate there was no decrease in the program during the first month of retail sales.
According to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, rather than lose patients, the state actually gained several dozen additions to the medical marijuana registry through the end of January. However, the agency says this does not account for their attrition rate -- 3,000 patients left the program in January 2014, which has been the trend. In fact, there have only been a couple of months over the past year when active red cards surpassed those patients deserting the registry.
Of course, officials still predict the recreational cannabis industry will eventually eat into medical marijuana. With Colorado residents now legally able to purchase retail weed as well as cultivate their own, most patients are not expected to continue paying the required $15 registration fee or the $100 physician’s fee in order to be granted access. Yet, there is speculation that high costs surrounding the recreational pot culture could keep patients embedded in the medical marijuana program for as long as they are allowed.
Recent data reveals that despite the launch of recreational pot sales, medical marijuana generated $31.5 million in January, while fun bud brought in just over $14 million. However, during the first month of recreational sales, only a few pot shops were granted licenses, which means those numbers are expected to increase exponentially throughout the year.
Interestingly, debilitating conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS and epileptic seizures only accounted for somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of the Colorado medical marijuana registry -- chronic pain is the most reported condition at 94 percent.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.