Medical marijuana: Health department registry stats show 5 percent decline in red cards

Categories: Marijuana

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After nearly four months, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (finally) updated its medical marijuana stats page yesterday. And although the latest information is from August, it does hint at a slight decline over the last two months in the number of people holding a red card.

Out of the 154,148 total new cards issued since system started in 2000, as many as 127,816 of them were still valid as recently as August 31, 2011 -- a slight decline from the previous two months, but still 24,000 patients more than August of last year.

The registry peaked in June 2011, with 128,698 patients -- meaning that at least 7,222 people have opted out of the system over the next two months. Not nearly half of the registry, as some people predicted, but still a notable 5 percent decrease.

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According to the two-month-old data, the registry is still dominated by men (68 percent), and the average age for all patients hovers around 41, up one year from August of 2010. More than half (56 percent) of all medical marijuana patients live in the metro area and severe pain accounts for 94 percent of all recommendations.

Also interesting to note is that 64 percent of all patients designated a primary caregiver as of August 2011, down two percentage points from the month before. Though it doesn't necessarily mean that they are only getting their herb from their CG, a solid majority of patients have signed someone else up to grow herb for them.

No telling when the September information will be posted, though CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley says the CDPHE usually updates the information monthly.

More from our Marijuana archives: "Medical marijuana seed-to-sale tracking system already worrying advocates -- but should it?" and "Medical marijuana dispensary review: Berkeley MMC in Mountain View"



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32 comments
Betty Aldworth
Betty Aldworth

I'll be interested to see how those numbers are affected now that the new threshold (185% FPL rather than receiving food stamps or SSSI) for the fee waiver/tax exemption is official, as well as after the registry fee drops to $35. 

franz charlee
franz charlee

These types of decline in the red card lead to increase in the fitness of the health of the person. Well now more people take care of their health which is really appreciable.phax swimwear

Wes
Wes

I reluctantly sent in my renewal in September. CDPHE rejected it due to my doctor making an error in the date format of the followup visit. Although my name and address were clear on the copy of my driver's license, they apparently had trouble reading my eye color and rejected that too. It could be that the application numbers are remaining steady, but they are just rejecting everything that is not perfect. On my repeat visit, my doctor spoiled two forms before getting one perfect. Still no word from CDPHE if I passed this time, and my card has now expired.

justin methew
justin methew

The step taken by the health department registry will beneficial for some people and for some not. The the decline in he red card now lead to more people to be careful regarding their health.natural vitamins

justin methew
justin methew

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has done a great job which is really appreciable. This is really beneficial for the people of the country  and in their health.phax swimwear

A Real Patient
A Real Patient

I had cancer but I took a few tugs on Josh Stanley's Blue Dream(tm)-branded medical cannabis and I am cured!  It didn't even get me high thanks to the work Josh Stanley has done to make impairment-free strains available to the market.  Thank god for Josh Stanley and Chris Romer, fathers of HB 1284 and medical marijuana as we know it today.

Cannapages
Cannapages

Spoiler alert: When dealers become patients, and MMC's drop their prices as the only competitive measure, those patients buying from dealers won't renew a $90 red card because their street dealer is back in business, with better prices and selection.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Living in the High Country, there are no convenient doctors who will sign the paperwork.  Driving to Denver gets it done, but I'd simply rather save the gas money and save the doctor visit money, and save the CDPHE money.  That's like $300 bucks for that piece of paper, a trip to the doc, a trip to the post office, etc... just not worth it.  Plus it didn't do me one damn bit of good when I got caught smoking in public.  Finally, it's all a bunch of crap, I'm not debilitated, I just want to get high.

Monkey
Monkey

My card has helped me before with law enforcement. The CDPHE responded to the law enforcement request very quickly and I walked away with allot more than 2 ounces without going to court. I might be naive but I still think the registry is confidential. I will renew again but I tell patients who designate me their caregiver that it is their choice to register and if they choose not to, I will still provide for them with a private written contract designating me their caregiver. Patients don't need to register and caregivers can be designated at anytime so we are all within our rights without the registry. From personal experience, the card and my name as "provider" on other cards helped with the particular cops I dealt with.

ithinkmedia
ithinkmedia

I just renewed my red card. I'm a woman, 48 and have muscle spasms from several car accidents in my 30's. I will be using a dispensary because it is the safest, easiest way to get quality, consistent meds. 

NoneOfYourBusiness
NoneOfYourBusiness

My card expired last month.  My doctor has filled out the new paperwork which I have in my possession at all times.  This is the 6th year she has recommend cannabis to treat my health issues.

I'll not be renewing my card.  I don't trust where my information will end up or who will be allowed to see it.  Since I don't go to dispensaries due to the surveillance in place which violates my right to privacy, I'll not be needing a Red Card.  Thanks anyway.

As I understand it, I am not alone.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

The average age went up.  Those antiMMC yahoos up in Fort Collins said that they age decreased dramatically.  I will share this with them.

Bob Smith
Bob Smith

CDPHE signed for my reluctant renewal application papers 12 August. I haven't heard a thing from them. My old card is long expired.

I didn't get upset because it took 6 months the first time, I don't depend on dispensaries and I didn't know how long it should take. The CDPHE website kept saying 2-3 weeks but it was so out of date otherwise I figured that info was also.

Now I wonder if I want to go through the pettifogging bureaucratic bullshit to find out what happened. About the only good reasons I can think of are for the joy of listening to and laughing at whatever crappy excuse comes, and for cover if I lose my caregiver connection - which happens more often than I'd like, in reality.

Calls to several MMCs show that some will take you with paperwork, most won't.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Wes. Much appreciated.

JOSH'S MOM
JOSH'S MOM

To claim A strain eliminated pain is one thing, But to take credit for a "Cancer Curing" Strain is purely Insane, Josh. Your mother didn't raise you to lie!Google Rick Simpson's "Race for the Cure" and get educated! Then, divest some of those major profit Dispensary/Costa Rica Holdings and Donate it to the new Phoenix Tears Foundation (http://www.phoenixtearsfoundat...) to HELP change lives in the long run. You can NOT own the plant, sorry son!

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

This is factually incorrect. From HB1043:A PRIMARY CAREGIVER WHO CULTIVATES MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR HIS OR HERPATIENTS SHALL REGISTER THE LOCATION OF HIS OR HER CULTIVATIONOPERATION WITH THE STATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSING AUTHORITYAND PROVIDE THE REGISTRATION IDENTIFICATION NUMBER OF EACH PATIENTTO THE STATE LICENSING AUTHORITY.

William Breathes
William Breathes

thanks for the comment, NYB. I'm interested in hearing more from people on this issue.

I"m sure it's NoneOfMyBusiness, but do you grow for yourself or do you still designate a caregiver despite not registering with the state?

William Breathes
William Breathes

Funny how people still think the whole registry is full of "20-something stoners". I love pointing to these stats when ignorance like that rears it's head.

I would really like to see the data broken down by age groups, though, and will be pushing for that for a future story on this.

Thanks (as always) for your comments CMMJP. Have a great weekend.

Monkey
Monkey

The Colorado Constitution will beat your silly little rules every time. Let me put that legal language in terms you can understand. ANY PATIENT THAT CHOOSES A CAREGIVER MUST SURRENDER THEIR REGISTRY # AND THE LOCATION OF THEIR PLANTS TO THE DOR. Patients and caregivers that don't register will obviously not meet DOR requirements but still have an affirmative defense. Patients that do register have a right to confidentiality and any sensible patients would not allow their caregiver to surrender information contained in the registry or the location of their plants to the DOR. Patients still have rights regardless of 1043. Keep clinging to your silly rules, it's all CDS has left. Patients and caregivers, registered or not, can still use the Constitution to protect them, you waived your rights to sell some weed. Good luck with all that.

Pete
Pete

Do you mean the Department of Revenue State Enforcement Group?  The ones that require caregivers to register their grow locations by July 1, 2011 and provide no mechanism for doing so?    Hmm....

NoneOfYourBusiness
NoneOfYourBusiness

Hi William, I grow my own. 

Cure, according to our constitution, only a doctor's recommendation is required to be legal.  It can be verbal, but it's better to have it in writing.  That way ya can show it to the ploice if they get involved.  Personally, I avoid police contact at all costs. :)

That being said, I could still be prosecuted, but my attorney would simply have my doctor testify on my behalf.  I would think the jury would find in my favor given my doctor is behind me.

Cure Ukay
Cure Ukay

Do you not HAVE to take the extra steps to get the Redcard once you have a written recommendation?

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

This is the only reason I renewed my card.  I am OK paying $90 a year for insurance.  It is complete bullshit that I should need to buy insurance against police harassment.  However, I'd rather throw the thugs some shakedown money than drag myself and my family through Hell and back to exert my affirmative defense.

I did stop going to MMCs immediately when HB 1284 was signed though.  I also stopped being a caregiver when 1043 was signed.  So the score is State 3, MiB 0.  I guess that's what this country has come to.  If you can keep the government from inflicting harm on you, then you're doing OK...

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

They're not "our" rules or "the CDS rules", but rather THE rules. 

You forget to mention that presenting an affirmative defense means having your case adjudicated in court, something that makes your confidential use of medical marijuana public knowledge. Then, for example, social services can stop by to see if your kids are being affected by your marijuana cultivation. Doesn't sound very private or confidential to me.

Let's tell both sides of the story here.

Pete
Pete

You mean pharmacies like Walgreens?  I don't care if they video tape me as I'm not breaking federal law when purchasing from them.  I CARE that the MMC video and detailed patient info is being captured by the Dept. of Revenue!  Where is that in the state constitution?

Citizen80919
Citizen80919

You need to understand the significant differences between a criminal exception to the marijuana laws provided by a red card and an affirmative defense that is offered by the doctor's rec alone.  One will give you a walk if you are within your 6 plants and 2 ounces.  The other will simply provide you with an opportunity to try and prove out your case in a court room.  Big difference in the legal realm.

ithinkmedia
ithinkmedia

Pete, you might want to stop visiting pharmacies too since you are videotaped getting your medicine there too.

Pete
Pete

We will most likely be dumping my wife's red card and going this same route.  It is so hard to figure out what to do with the Department of Revenue now involved.  We are NOT okay with that.  We are NOT okay being videotaped so no more MMCs for us.  I'll be watching closely to see how this develops but I can't see giving the state another $90 if they are only going to shit on us.  The pendulum seems to be swinging the wrong direction again.  

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