Medical marijuana patient numbers up again: Are high recreational pot taxes the reason?

Categories: Marijuana

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The Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient Registry continued its slow but steady climb in March according to statistics released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As of March 31, there were 115,208 active red cards in the state -- up 1,767 people from the month before.

As has been the case for nearly a year now, the number of children under the age of eighteen on the medical marijuana registry increased, from 248 to 285 patients between February and March. But even with that rise in the number of minors, the average age of medical marijuana patients increased from 41 years old to 42 years old in March.

Despite additional red cards, some people are still dropping off the registry, though. Once again, the state reported receiving more new patient applications than the number of new red cards issued, indicating that as many as 1,900 people left the registry or let their cards expire without renewal. CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley says that while roughly 11 percent of applications are rejected because they need to be corrected, actual denials are rare.

Of patients with active red cards, about 56 percent designate a caregiver or a medical marijuana center to grow their herb. The registry doesn't break down those figures further, but Salley provides a "snapshot" of data from March 26, when 4,944 patients had a private caregiver and 53,747 people allotted their plants to a medical marijuana center. There may be a slight overlap in those numbers, but it's likely insignificant, as both patients under eighteen and home-bound patients can have both a caregiver and an MMC grow for them.

Anyone with a red card can purchase medical marijuana at an MMJ dispensary. And patients are definitely purchasing marijuana: According to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, there was a whopping $34.4 million in medical marijuana sold here in March, generating about $1 million in sales-tax revenue for the state. Of that total, $16.7 million was sold in Denver County alone. In comparison, sales of retail cannabis were much lower. Colorado retailers sold $19.6 million worth of marijuana in March, with $8.9 million of that in Denver.

Recreational marijuana tax revenue was much higher, however, due to a 15 percent excise tax and 10 percent special sales tax on top of the 2.9 percent state sales tax. In total, Colorado collected about $3 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana in March.

Many have speculated that the high tax rate on recreational cannabis will push recreational cannabis customers to acquire red cards, and several recreational/medical dual-use dispensaries have been using their ads to openly suggest that people do just that.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Weed profiling: Nebraska county cites Colorado drivers for pot, etc. more than Nebraska ones" and "Pot brownies legal in Colorado could land Texas' Jacob Lavoro in jail for life."

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102 comments
fitzbim
fitzbim

Sadly this just makes the medicinal market look like a big scam.  I would much rather leave it to those who really need it due to illness other than "my neck and my back".  If your not ill buy black market, where is the dignity and honor in people anymore.

Jaci Davis
Jaci Davis

Its waaaaaayyyyyy cheaper. Period.

Joshua Trotter
Joshua Trotter

saw that this one dispensary I went to had the "girl scout cookies" strain that I've been wanting to try. It was excellent weed as I had heard and I highly recommend it but before you buy I also recommend that you get your red card first because the total came to seventy fucking dollars for just an eighth of it and that is ridiculously too high!!! I didn't get my check cashed until late in the day and all the dispensaries close @ 7pm ( which is also ridiculous!) that I know about plus it was friday and I was stressed out anyway and did not feel like going on a "hunt" to try and find someone who had great weed at a good price that wasn't out there trying to rip people off(& its very rare that you find a legit ,honest dealer on the streets) so I bought the eighth though I cursed myself for paying that much when I knew better. the bottom line is I will be getting a red card before I go back to a dispensary cause I'm not paying that much for weed again, no matter how good it is! Also, Westword should know the answer to this question anyway. I think they are just wanting to get our opinion I guess( why else would they ask such a stupid question!?).

Joshua Trotter
Joshua Trotter

The recreational cannabis tax is wayyy TOO HIGH!!!! until they lower the tax most ppl I have talked with all say they will keep buying their ganja by way of the "black market" or purchase a mmj red card and go the medical route.

David Montalvo
David Montalvo

No. The prices for recreational use isn't much different than the black market. In fact, some dispensaries will give you a discount if you're a well known customer. Who pays $80 for an eighth??? I know I don't. And I don't have a medical marijuana license. I only pay $40 for an eight.

Pam Stiffler
Pam Stiffler

Better quality, better service, better prices, no extra taxes or fees. I love my dispensary...thanks South West Alternative Care!

Jeremy Wolf
Jeremy Wolf

So you don't have to pay the ridiculous prices.....and they are pretty effin ridiculous.

Mo Colin
Mo Colin

Is that a real question ! Cheap and better product !

Stephanie Marie
Stephanie Marie

I've heard that because of this the medical pot selection is not as vast as it used to be in shops. Rather they move all their good stuff over to the side where they can make more $$ off it. So medical patients are getting screwed too. At least thats what ive heard about one shop on Broadway....

Dan Andrade
Dan Andrade

Medical is cheaper and better quality than recreation. It's science lol

Monkey
Monkey

I can't believe Westword missed this. Erie has a mandatory local registration for patients and caregivers. They also limit household plant numbers, 6 for medical, 12 for recreational.

http://www.erieco.gov/index.aspx?NID=1074

Taylor Denn
Taylor Denn

What a stupid question... It's cheaper!

Darin Forde
Darin Forde

Jay Cismaru you my friend must be stuck in the 70 on a bad acid trip if you think nothing is better than Colombian gold... might wanna step your game up

Trinda Weymouth
Trinda Weymouth

Taxes are very high and most adults use medicinally. This plant may be a cure for many maladies and works well as medicine for many people and conditions.

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline

Because its B.S how much they charge for rec. Ill grow my own thank you.

Virginia Denton
Virginia Denton

I was told by a PTSD specialist to use it for anxiety/nightmares.and need it for psoriatic arthritis. I must have the red card because there's still so many Reefer Madness brainwash victims that treat us like criminals for using it as a physician prescribed.

Danni Malone
Danni Malone

Maia Janae check out Dank Colorado babe. You may have your red card (not sure) we have both medical and recreational as well as edibles and tinctures.

Danni Malone
Danni Malone

I work in a recreational shop. The amount of people that do and do not complain about the tax, quality, quantity, potency, amount of thc in products.... this has been an incredible learning adventure for all of us involved.

Dustin Roger Mikkelsen
Dustin Roger Mikkelsen

Jay Cismaru, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I've had some super strong, super clean weed from dispensaries. Also had some terrible stuff from the stores, dry, lots of stems, ridiculously priced. The best I've ever had was from my regular guy a few years ago, could never find anything like it again...

Jay Cismaru
Jay Cismaru

Everyone thinks that there is a difference between medical and recreational as a 45-year smoker I can tell you the best weed ever was Colombian gold from the 70's otherwise you can give her any name you want it's all pretty much the same and its not that much stronger if any stronger than swag from the 70's

fitzbim
fitzbim

Most of the craigslist guys are just reselling what they get with their red card at the same prices as they buy bulk or they grow their own same quality. Same weed, same red card price. No ID swipe so the snoopers don't know and they deliver.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... insane that they charge a registration fee -- more than the STATE -- for medical patients / caregivers, but none for recreational.


And that if more than 1 or 2 people live in the same house, the others must forfeit their constitutional rights to grow their plants.


Imagine if the Right to Free Speech was limited to the one or two occupants of a residence, and the others had to shut the fuck up.


... or more up your alley, if the Right to Keep and Bear Arms was limited to only one or two adults in the house, any other occupants must forfeit their 2nd amendment right.


Where are all the Publicity Seeking Marijuana McLawyers now that the State and Cities are violating long-standing Patient Rights?



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

I'm sure it has been an incredible learning adventure, Danni. Thanks for posting.

publius.ceasar
publius.ceasar

It is unfortunate that many of the old landrace strains we grew up on like highland Columbian Gold, lowland Thai, Oaxacan, Michoacan, Panama Red and so many others aren't available anywhere at any price. Most were pure sativas which take too long to flower out and don't yield enough for the indoor growers to tolerate.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... Panama Red was one of the best of the era.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your Colombian gold memories, Jay. Much appreciated.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay no one has a right.


From Suthers brief in Coats v. Dish first paragraph.  "......Contrary to popular perception, Colorado has not simply legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Instead, its citizens have adopted narrowly drawn constitutional amendments that decriminalize small amounts of marijuana for patients with a debilitating medical condition, at issue in this case, or for recreational use by adults over the age of 21. See Colo. Const. art. XVIII, §§
14, 15.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@publius.ceasar  ... and who can afford the labor to meticulously tie each little bud to a thin bamboo stick with a thread of bamboo like the TONS of Thai Stick that flooded the U$A in the late 70s?


And let's not forget the tonnage of Lebanese and Moroccan hash that saturated the U$ markets during the same era.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@KathleenChippi


Behold the abject legal incompetence of Lyin' Brian Vicente and the other idiot authors of that piece of crap A64 ... and the earlier fools who wrote A20.





KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @KathleenChippi 

CO Attorney General Argues Against Patient Rights to the Colorado Supreme Court in Coats v. Dish Network

 

“The states position is that the government of Colorado and the individual governmental officials implementing the medical marijuana program are engaged in abetting violations of federal drug laws,”PCRLP attorney Andrew Reid, Springer and Steinberg.


After 14 years with medical marijuana in the state Constitution, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has finally clarified its position/interpretation on/of Section 14 (A20). The office that “oversees, represents and defends the legal interests of the people of the State of Colorado and its sovereignty” has come out against patient and caregiver “rights”and is upholding federal law over the state Constitution in the first and only medical marijuana case being heard by the Colorado Supreme Court.


Brandon Coats, a paralyzed medical marijuana patient, was fired from his job at Dish Network after testing positive for THC on a random drug screening. Coats,through his attorney Michael Evans, argued that since he was a legal medical marijuana patient under the Colorado Constitution, his offduty use of medical marijuana was covered under the “Colorado Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute” (CLODAS). Therefore Dish Network could not legally fire him.


The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Coats’ use of medical marijuana is not covered by CLODAS, even though medical marijuana is protected in the state Constitution, because marijuana is illegal under federal law.


Some of the (more offensive) language in the states amicus brief in Coats v. DISH Network for consideration in the Colorado Supreme Court:


“Contrary to popular perception, Colorado has not simply legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.Instead, its citizens have adopted narrowly drawn constitutional amendments that decriminalize small amounts of marijuana for patients with a debilitating medical condition, at issue in this case, or for recreational use by adults over the age of 21.”  …


“… invoking the language of “rights” would only lead to confusion as citizens and jurists alike may misunderstand both the nature of the right and the scrutiny associated with the right.”  


Apparently the AG believes“citizens and jurists” will be confused if the Colorado Supreme Court overturns the lower court ruling and confirms patients and caregivers have fundamental“rights”. 


“The State of Colorado contends there is no reason in this case to address the question of describing the medical use of marijuana as a “right” under the state constitution. Resolving this case does not require this Court to reach the question of what type of a right, if any,protects medical marijuana patients and caregivers.   As a matter of statutory interpretation the undeniable and unambiguous illegality of marijuana under federal law answers the question in this case.”…


“If the Court chooses to describe the use of marijuana as a “right,” however, the Court should act with caution…. To the extent any level of review is appropriate, it should be highly deferential as to capture the spirit of the voters who enacted a specific, criminal-law focused provision. Any other result would undermine the need for the executive branch and the General Assembly to regulate and legislate in this complicated and fluid policy arena.” …


“If the People want to enact a broadly applicable “right’ to use marijuana as the dissent in Beinor declared,then a new amendment to the Colorado Constitution should be required.”


Considering The Attorney Generals job is to represent/defend the people of Colorado and sovereignty, one has to wonder:

1.     How many “citizens and jurists” believe the state needs“a new amendment to the Colorado Constitution” in order to (really)legalize medical marijuana?   

2.     How many agree that the Colorado Supreme Court “invoking the language of “rights” would only lead to confusion” for “citizens and jurists”?  

3.     How many agree “….there is no reason in this case to address the question of describing the medical use of marijuana as a “right” under the state constitution.”

4.     How many agree the AG should be arguing for federal laws over the state constitution?

5.     Does the AG support the arrest of Governor Hickenlooper, the Board of Health, the General Assembly, the DoR and other local government employees?

6.     How many Coloradans feel like they are being represented and/or defended by the AG?

7.     And food for thought: If the AG believes MMJ patients don’t have “rights”, what is the AG’s position on A64? 



KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay 

Fortunately the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project (PCRLP) had standing and the Supreme Court accepted our amicus brief in Coats v. Dish Network back on April 16th.  The PCRLP argues on behalf of fundamental patient and caregiver rights and argues federal law does not trump state MMJ laws, specifically.  The PCRLP  believes the U.S. Congress never intended to ban medical marijuana when they listed marijuana in the federal CSA in 1970.


State law trumps IF there is no federal law that addresses the issue. The feds are adamant that cannabis has no medical use, so the feds have no laws that address medical marijuana, specifically.  Under the CSA itself, the feds have 1 year with a onetime only 6 month extension to PROVE to “we the people” that any substance put on Schedule meets ALL of the requirements of that schedule. 


Cannabis was put in Schedule I temporarily (while the feds did the research-the Shafer Commission).  When the Commission released its final report on marijuana in 1972, they found that marijuana was safe and recommended that it be decriminalized altogether. Nixon chose to ignore those findings and instead officially started the longest-running war in U.S. history, the War on Drugs.


Andrew Reid, of Springer and Steinberg, Denver writes:“…although over 40 years have passed since it was first listed neither the United States Supreme Court, this Court, nor any other high court has as yet engaged in a proper and full Preemption Doctrine analysis to determine whether the Congress, the drafters of the federal CSA, ever intended to include state recognized medical uses of marijuana in the CSA’s Schedule I listing of marijuana, or whether the listing was intended to be limited to non-medical uses.”


If the Supreme Court agrees with the lower courts and the state AG that no one has any “rights” because federal law trumps, Reid elaborates: “Given that the State of Colorado runs an established MMJ program, including licensing and taxing, its position in its amicus brief is outrageous.  Its position is that the government of Colorado and the individual governmental officials are engaged in abetting violations of federal drug laws.  The Colorado Attorney General is essentially subjecting all state officials who participate in the MMJ program to federal prosecution for violations of federal felony drug laws.”


Reid contends that patients will be harmed if the Court of Appeals ruling in the Coats case “that federal CSA criminalization of marijuana covers the lawful use and possession of medical marijuana under state law” is allowed to stand. Reid maintains that dozens of “occupations, occupational licenses, permits (guns included),and state benefits” will be denied to thousands of legal medical marijuana patients because “their possession and consumption of their medication” would be considered illegal.


Both the states’ brief and the PCRLP brief can be found at cannabislawsuits.com 



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@KathleenChippi


“The states position is that the government of Colorado and the individual governmental officials implementing the medical marijuana program are engaged in abetting violations of federal drug laws,” -- PCRLP attorney Andrew Reid, Springer and Steinberg.


Time to DISBAR and JAIL ALL the Marijuana McLawyers who aid and abet those Big $$ Dispensary Cartels ... and prosecute and jail all those Government Parasites at the DOR and Cities that conspired to do the same.


And to think that some of those Profiteering Government Scumbags actually had the hypocrisy to deny marijuana licenses to some claiming they were not of "good moral character" .



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