Medical marijuana statistics show slight rise in patients during 2013

Categories: Marijuana

a 205 Breathes Red Card.jpg
Even though Colorado received more than 40,000 new medical marijuana patient applications in 2013, the total number of active patients on the state's registry stayed about the same as in 2012, when voters went beyond MMJ to let adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of cannabis.

As of January 1, 2014, according to statistics just released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there were 110,979 active red cards -- only 2,453 more than at the end of 2012.

The gap between new applications and the actual increase in cards suggests that as many as 37,000 medical marijuana patients dropped off the registry or failed to renew their cards in 2013. While some of the gap could be attributed to rejected applications, the CDPHE hasn't usually turned down applications in large numbers.

The registry has yet to see the drastic dip in patients that some activists and state officials predicted would occur after the passage of Amendment 64 allowed adults in Colorado to cultivate their own cannabis as well as purchase it at recreational stores. So far, it seems that the newfound freedom of home cultivation hasn't affected the registry much.

But since recreational sales just started in January, it's still too early to tell what impact those sales will ultimately have. While not registering with the state is attractive to some, the high taxes and prices associated with recreational sales could keep many of Colorado's dispensary-shopping medical marijuana patients on the registry. And there are plenty of those patients -- and plenty of money coming from them, too. According to Colorado Department of Revenue data, more than $328.64 million in legal medical marijuana sales in 2013 netted the state about $9.11 million in tax revenue.

The new information does reveal a few slight changes to registry statistics. While the average patient age is still 41 and the majority of patients continue to live in metro Denver, the number of women on the registry increased slightly, from 34 percent in 2012 to 35 percent in 2013. So did the average age of women on the registry: from 43 years old to 44 years old. The number of patients designating a primary center or private caregiver also increased, from 54 percent to 57 percent -- or about 4,654 people total.

And while the number of people on the registry as a whole didn't grow substantially in 2013, the stats related to minors under eighteen jumped significantly -- from just 35 minors at the end of 2012 to 199 at the end of 2013. That surge in patients was largely fueled by national media interest in CBD treatments for children suffering from severe seizure disorders. The poster child for that movement is Charlotte Figi, a Colorado Springs girl who was suffering from hundreds of seizures daily caused by Dravet Syndrome until her parents began giving her measured doses of CBD oil; CNN's coverage of that story went around the globe.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Video: Inside Edition smoke-shack parody finds shocking proof of drinking at ski areas!"

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Medicinal Wellness Center
Medicinal Wellness Center

Yes we strongly encourage our patients to keep their red cards, and renew them in proper timing!

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Only a fool (or tourist) would pay retail prices = more than double the standard industry rate!!

Bob Dobbs
Bob Dobbs

It IS medicine, so it is appropriate to have my red card.

Zachary Varón
Zachary Varón

Of course they've really screwed up rec. It's a real sh!t show

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

With the CDPHE charging only $15 to "register" patients -- the price it should have been since day 1 of their fiasco -- a medical "patient" will save the cost and expense of a physician referral and registration if they purchase as little as 1 (one) ounce per year from those Greedy Profiteering Big $$ Dispensary Pigs.

Given that every ADULT under 21 was explicitly excluded from ANY legal access to rec. marijuana by that festering piece of shit A64 and the self-centered scumbags who wrote and promoted it -- everyone under 21 will need to maintain their physician referral / red card status to remain "legal" in Colorado ... and they get to possess TWICE as much pot as all the other recreational adults.


Weed doctors are cheap now ($60), and more family practice doctors are willing to "recommend" the use of it. That's $75 at most for a medical card. Patients can posses at least twice as much, and grow as many plants as they deem "necessary". I don't see any reason to abandon medical status, unless I wanted to pay twice as much at stores, and pay the government to squander more money.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Monkey  …unless you don't want your name on a list that's not as private as it was said to be…of course, when I jumped the list, it was way before A64 and I was already growing for myself. The only bummer is difficulty getting high-CBD, low-THC varieties. Having stopped growing when I had to handle my mom's death out of state, I guess I'll have to get going again before I run out.

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