Pot Patient Numbers in Colorado Slide for Fourth Consecutive Month, Several Factors at Play
The number of patients on Colorado’s medical pot registry slid by 13% in October from the previous month, with 13,720 residents dropping off the list.
It marks the fourth straight decline in registered patients since the registry hit a peak of nearly 129,000 in June. Since then, patient numbers have plunged by 31%, the lowest level since spring of last year.
The decline means medical marijuana dispensaries, growers and related MMJ businesses are fighting for fewer pieces of a much smaller pie. It’s as if 40,000 of their customers just disappeared seemingly overnight. That could force some marijuana dispensaries to close and others to scale back significantly.
Here’s a breakdown of patient numbers since summer, including the percentage change from the previous month:
May: 127,444 (+1.1%)
June: 128,698, (+ less than 1%)
July: 127,816, (- less than 1%)
August: 121,476, (- 5%)
September: 102,592, (-15.5%)
October: 88,872, (-13.4%)
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons behind the drop, but several factors are likely at work. Many medical pot experts expected to see some type of decrease this summer, when the state began requiring marijuana dispensaries to meet a whole host of new regulations. Several rules revolving around security, monitoring and record-keeping raised privacy concerns among patients, and some no doubt declined to renew their cards for that reason.
The drop-off is much higher than expected, but the situation might not be as dire for the MMJ industry as it seems. For one, the state has been grappling with a huge backlog of applications, estimated recently at between 28,000 and 30,000. Once the Colorado health department gets caught up, the registry should be closer to where it was in August.
The state also has put about 4,200 application on hold as it investigates possible fraud, claiming that some marijuana recommendations were not actually made by physicians as required by law.
At the same time, the annual patient registration fee drops significantly in January – from $90 currently to $35. A fair share of patients are no doubt waiting to renew until then, hoping to save a little green in the process.
It’s not surprising that the patient numbers are in flux, given all of these factors. A more accurate picture will likely emerge in March or April of next year, when everything settles down. At this point, the drop is certainly a concern for the industry. But it probably doesn’t signal some fundamental shift, and the numbers should rise in the coming months.
Mainstream insurance companies should start crafting policies to cover legal marijuana businesses as the industry [click to continue...]
In a bid to curtail premature business opportunities tied to recreational marijuana, city leaders in [click to continue...]
A group in Ohio has already raised $36 million for a proposed ballot measure that would [click to continue...]
After a medical marijuana company abandoned its cultivation license on Monday in an area west [click to continue...]
Washington State entrepreneurs hoping to sell marijuana through vending machines or drive-up windows took a [click to continue...]
Cannabis businesses face opposition from anti-marijuana advocates worried about the drug falling into the hands [click to continue...]
Nearly 40% of the 519 businesses that applied for medical cannabis business licenses in Nevada [click to continue...]
Florida is having a hard time figuring out rules for its CBD industry. The state [click to continue...]
Dispensaries in Maine sold an estimated $16.2 million worth of medical cannabis last year, while [click to continue...]
Oregon could keep medical marijuana completely separate from recreational cannabis when retail sales begin next [click to continue...]
Missouri has joined the growing number of states legalizing CBD-based medicines. The state awarded cultivation [click to continue...]
Dispensaries and retail cannabis stores in Colorado sold nearly 150,000 pounds of marijuana flower last [click to continue...]
Recreational marijuana has dominated headlines out of Washington DC this week, as the use, possession [click to continue...]
A company that got turned down for one of the Illinois’ 21 medical marijuana cultivation [click to continue...]