Medical marijuana: CDPHE stats show 40,000 patient dip in registry

marijuana plants in pots cropped.JPG
As of the end of October 2011, the medical marijuana registry had only 88,872 patients with an active red card. That's the fewest number of patients in the state since May 2010.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the October stats late last week, showing a decline in the number of patients without a red card to the tune of about 30 percent from the registry's peak enrollment this spring.

The dip in registry numbers follows a now four-month slide of 39,826-patients from the registry's peak enrollment of 128,698 in June 2011. Denver county, which has had the most MMJ patients by county for more than two years, has seen a decrease of more than 6,000 patients, to just 13,179 by Halloween night.

Also on the decline is the number of patients designating a primary caregiver. In June 2011, about 83,650 patients had listed someone as having "significant responsibility" for managing their care. In October, that number shrank to 53,323. Assuming that each caregiver has a maximum number of five patients, that could mean as few as 10,655 caregivers are active. Average age still hovers around 42, though there are 41 patients under eighteen with parental permission on the registry. Approximately 32 percent of all patients are women.

Is the dip permanent? On one hand, plenty of commenters on our blogs from people who have written that they are not re-upping with the registry for a myriad of reasons, from not wanting to be part of a system that many find intrusive and waiting until the registry fee drops from $90 to $35 next month, to finding better deals on the black market ganja via sites like Craigslist.

On the other, we're looking at two-month old data and also know that the CDPHE has had a backlog of applications in the past few months that was only announced in mid-November. Since June, when the patient dip began, 10,000 new patient applications have been received. Also, as many as 30,000 applications were in the system as recently as November 16 when the CDPHE announced that 4,000 applications (or 14 percent of all submitted at the time) were on hold because of issues with the doctors or physician assistants signatures. That number has since increased to about 4,200.

Given that most current stats from the state are always at least a month or two old and it's really anybody's guess as to what the real numbers look like right now.

More from ourMarijuana archive: "Dmitry Genzer, Joseph Alejo busted in Cannabis & Co. sting, 175 pounds of pot seized" and "Med. marijuana patients must wait 6 months to reapply if applications found to be 'fraudulent'."

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32 comments
Donkey Hotay's Dog
Donkey Hotay's Dog

Funny how the decline directly corresponded to when the dispensaries all allowed the MMED to have control of all video surveillance cameras in their facilities and is now sharing that video information with the feds. Until the dispensaries stand up and fight for patient rights, the patients will continue to leave them in droves.

Guest
Guest

I've got a friend growing in his basement in a nice residential area in fort collins who is absolutely SURE, this IS Christmas! Thanks to the voters in podunk towns and the CDPHE for putting the black market back in biz in CO!!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith

Due to Federal Prohibition which in turn causes State Prohibition, many have just said 'screw it' and have gone back underground. The free market always does better than any Government program.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

88,000 at end of October, loss of > 10,000 per month means as of now probably only < 75,000 on the registry.  This is the new revolution.  Ganja has always been about revolution.  Getting your card in 2010 was a little symbol of rebellious revolution.  Now the 2011 - 2012 flavor is to not get your card, go back to the small growers / distributors, and get better herb at cheaper prices.... Hunt down the dank and be happy when you score, all under the radar. The medical part of marijuana was just a fad, a bunch of hoopla, now it's just cannabis and everyone can be on a level playing / smoking field.  When the medical marijuana road block to legalization falls apart, then finally things will get fun again.  Now, I'm going to burn one down....

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

No patient should implicate any caregiver by naming them; patients' confidentiality now might not extend to their caregivers, and cross-indexing  of their names and the MMED's list of those complying with HB11-1043's unconstitutional requirement that they register where they grow cannabis could be used to deprive caregivers of their right to an affirmative defense under Article XVIII, Section 14.

Patients who want a red card or want to shop at a dispensary are up against the determination of the CDPHE to deflate the patient rolls.  The viability of an industry based upon serving a population which has shrunk by ~30% over the past four months and may continue to do so is questionable at best.  Every Coloradan should affirm patients and their caregivers' right to use cannabis as medicine upon a doctor's recommendation against the depredations of the bureaucrats and prohibitionists in State government who have no regard for what our Constitution says.  Vote to acquit.

Monkey
Monkey

They also have been issuing waivers to serve more than 5 patients with no delay, I have not had any rejected. I would stick to the 60% of patients designating a caregiver and not try to guess how many there are, that would be impossible.

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

I still believe that the CDPHE is conflating primary caregivers and primary centers but haven't received confirmation.

Thanks for digging up the numbers, though! Must have been a fun one.

sojournerC
sojournerC

Oh man I know. It's not like there are cameras at grocery stores, malls, roadways, or any other private business with a security system. 

Do you really believe the MMED has the resources to watch tens of thousands of cameras? Get real. 

Guest
Guest

The "decline" also happens to coincide with the renewal date of many patients who had their cards paid for by Caregivers or MMC's needing to grow more plants, now many of these Caregivers are restricted by how many they can have so they don't need to pay for renewals and many centers have built a large enough patient list that they aren't offering to pay for doctors visits and state fees.

In addition if you look at the number of applications in processing it ends up being not that dramatic of a drop off.

 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The free market huh?  The Government has cut corporations into the business of imprisoning people, and it's a growth industry with a vested interest in criminalizing America.  As for going "back underground", do explain how that is done -- after growing and selling cannabis openly, it isn't very well possible to erase the intelligence that one did so from what passes for minds in the drug police establishment (or from old Westwords, or the Internet, etc).

Monkey
Monkey

I might be naive but I still believe the Constitution. I don't see how cross-indexing would be legal. Any information contained in the registry is confidential, therefor any caregiver surrendering ANY information to the DOR would be violating the law. The CDPHE says "The Registry cannot provide a list of patients who have designated a specific caregiver, due to patient confidentiality laws". And the constitution is clear.No person shall be permitted to gain access to any information about patients in the state health agency's confidential registry, or any information otherwise maintained by the state health agency about physicians and primary care-givers, except for authorized employees of the state health agency in the course of their official duties and authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies which have stopped or arrested a person who claims to be engaged in the medical use of marijuana and in possession of a registry identification card or its functional equivalent, pursuant to paragraph (e) of this subsection (3). Authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to the information contained within the state health agency's confidential registry only for the purpose of verifying that an individual who has presented a registry identification card to a state or local law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card.

I do understand why people are leery, I just need proof my privacy has been taken away, not just a possibility it will. I hope I don't have my head stuck in the sand too far, sometimes the people who do everything right are the ones that get screwed.

Monkey
Monkey

I bet you're right, even though their own website says caregiver I bet they mean "provider". There are actually other examples of mis-information on their site and I too am waiting for confirmation.

Pete
Pete

Your'e not breaking federal law by shopping at grocery stores and malls.  Just a little bit of a difference.  Whether they have the manpower or not, it is the principle that matters to many of us.  This is precisely why we won't step foot in another MMC, whereas we were regular buyers before.

Zan Dimmer
Zan Dimmer

Yes as a matter of fact they can watch the few thousand (400 centers x 10 cameras a shop = 4000 cameras) camera's pretty easily .. . . you ever been to Vegas?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You're quite right -- I had forgotten the specific language of the Article; caregivers are indeed protected.  I will stand by the suggestion not to name them to the Department though.  Has anyone asked the MMED how many caregivers have registered their grows with them?  I think I'll do that tomorrow.

Donkey Hotay's Dog
Donkey Hotay's Dog

All MMCs are required to give their camera IP addresses and admin access to the DOR, who can share with the feds without any notice. You can bet that everything is being recorded and stored in the MMED's fancy new data center, paid for with $10 million MMC application fees. You can also bet the feds are getting copies of everything and storing it on the federal fusion center down in Centennial. All this data is currently being compiled for the big RFID database, a new requirement for next year. You think they're surveilling now, wait until next year...

sojournerC
sojournerC

No not that I know of. 

Most centers' applications are still pending. I would imagine that the majority of those, including Denver Relief, are not yet connected. 

Thanks for the conversation!

Pete
Pete

I was under the impression that all MMC were providing live feeds to the DOR as of July 1.  Very interesting to learn it is still being phased in.  I would consider purchasing from anyone that is not providing this feed.  Is there any way to verify who is providing feeds and who is not?

sojournerC
sojournerC

I suppose a little disclosure is in order. I work at an MMC, and while I certainly understand not wanting to be taped, security cameras are there for our protection as well, not only from theft or robberies, but from law enforcement also.

We do everything above the board and aren't concerned about having it taped. Should someone allege wrongdoing, we have proof positive of what actually took place. 

Although the rate is no higher than for banks or convenience stores, MMC's are targets for robberies, crazies, and mj opponents.

The cameras are a safeguard from these risks. 

Mr. Breathes disagreed with me on this point a few weeks ago, but to my knowledge the MMED is not presently watching feeds. 

As they approve applications they may request that a center upgrade their security DVR for a feed, but we have not done so yet.

Our security system is completely internal for the time being. I imagine this will change as they get more ducks in a row, but as I stated above, even if they do get the feeds, the manpower to actually 'watch' them is simply not feasible.     

Pete
Pete

Fair point.  The open feed to the DOR is what pushed me out the door.  I'm opposed to the government videotaping me in my private business.   As far as I'm concerned, there is no compelling reason for why this needs to be the case.  If I'm so likely to not be seen by anybody, what is the point of doing it?

sojournerC
sojournerC

You probably were.

Most MMC's had security, for good reason, even before the MMED required it.

Pete
Pete

I wasn't being video taped breaking federal law.  Duh.

sojournerC
sojournerC

The information recorded on the cameras is not shared with any law enforcement agency other than by specific request with cause (like a search warrant). 

If you were a regular shopper before then an MMC has your information. What's the difference? 

Are you worried the feds are going to start breaking down the doors of patients for buying 1/8ths? 

They have said on dozens of occasions that prosecuting patients is not the fed's goal.

sojournerC
sojournerC

You weren't breaking federal law before? 

sojournerC
sojournerC

You are forgetting the cultivation facilities, and infused product manufacturers, (10 cameras per is a low estimate BTW), but that isn't the point.

Even if it was only 4000 cameras, they simply don't have the resources to watch every one, and the big misconception is that these videos are 'being shared with the feds'.

Assuming that one person could successfully monitor a modest 100 cameras at once (10 businesses by your estimate), they would need 40 employees to do just that. THEY DONT.

Don't let paranoia get the best of you. 

Monkey
Monkey

I'm with you for sure! I would rather break the law by not registering with the MMED instead of breaking the law by sharing confidential information. If I designated a caregiver that gave my registry identification number and the location of my plants to the MMED, I would sue that caregiver.

Pete
Pete

Absolutely positively unconstitutional, in my opinion. Agree 100%!

Pete
Pete

I'm not aware of the DOR even having a mechanism for caregivers to report their grow sites as required by 1284.  Not that I'll be sharing that info or renewing our red card when it expires.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The MMED says that the registration of caregivers is to start next year -- we should protest this unconstitutional requirement and no caregiver should supply any information to the DOR.

Monkey
Monkey

All I noticed on the MMED website was two new registration fees, one for a warehouse ($1000) and another for caregiver ($20), both say "These services are not yet available and no fee is currently in effect".

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