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Medical marijuana registry hits highest number since 2011: Retail pot taxes the reason?

Categories: Marijuana

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The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry program has hit its highest number in nearly three years. According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics, there were 116,180 patients on the registry as of April 30, 2014 -- raising the possibility that more people are getting medical cards to avoid high taxes on recreational cannabis.

At its peak, in June 2011, the registry listed 128,698 patients. But it was already sliding by August 2011, when there were 121,476 patients on the registry. That number plummeted to 102,592 just one month later, in September 2011, and then bottomed out at 88,872 patients in October.

Since then, the total has been slowly climbing back up. But the increase of 27,300 active patients over the past twenty months doesn't mean the exodus from the registry has ended. The increase in red-card numbers represents only about a quarter of the total number of new applications to the registry over that same time span. Between October 2011 and April 2014, the CDPHE received more than 99,000 new applications. That means as many as 72,000 people either dropped off the registry or didn't renew their cards during that period.

Although the majority of patients on the registry are male, women still account for a solid third of the total. The average age still hovers around 42, and the majority of patients -- 108,635 of them -- report severe pain as their reason for having a medical marijuana card. The most concentrated group of patients is in Denver, representing about 17 percent of the total registry. Generally speaking, all of these stats have remained the same for years.

But one group has grown exponentially in recent months and doesn't seem to be slowing down. There are now 307 patients under the age of eighteen on the registry, up 22 patients from the month before. Much of that can be attributed to the increasing popularity of CBD-related treatments for children with severe seizure disorders. It has been nearly a year since CNN doctor/correspondent Sanjay Gupta hosted a special on cannabis and highlighted Colorado children using CBD; when the program aired last August, there were only sixty minors on the registry.

While medical marijuana patient numbers were up in April, sales were down slightly, with $31,717,655 in pot products sold -- a drop of about $2.75 million from the month before. Still, the state picked up approximately $920,000 in tax revenue from medical marijuana sales taxes in April. Dispensaries in Denver, where the majority of patients and centers are located, brought in about $14.5 million in April. So far this year, Denver has seen $63.3 million in medical sales, bringing in about $2,217,603 in sales taxes.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Jared Polis on why the feds should end the monopoly on pot testing" and "Denver DUI attorney advertises on rolling papers."


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100 comments
Sean Valdez
Sean Valdez

Mean while veterans with PTSD continue paying high taxes on meds because they fear repercussions from the VA and local government if we have a red card.

fitzbim
fitzbim

It would be tax free and a hell of a lot cheaper in the long run to just grow their own.  All problems solved. 


On a side note I have noticed even the "black market" guys are getting greedy and charging way more than its worth.  Some just go buy a 1/8th from their dispensary then resell it for almost twice as much. I give them credit for finding a way to make money on their own but come on what a D'bag move.

Ken Tschappat
Ken Tschappat

Stoners now find out what it is like to pay taxes at the rate of the 1%.

Luis Posada
Luis Posada

It's not the taxes the pretax rate is ridiculous and all the shops have followed suit. There is a definite lack of competition. They are using the cable company play book to form an oligopoly.

jules
jules

We need to allow for reciprocity of medpot cards from other states. THERE IS NOT ONE GOOD REASON TO DENY PEOPLE THIS RIGHT. Think about it. NOT ONE good reason.

jules
jules

Do you people know that you cannot obtain a prescription for cannabis at any hospital in Colorado? You can have opiates all you need, but no cannabis? Why??? We need to change this! Start talking about it, people! Let's shove the feds and their greed based laws out!

jules
jules

Couldn't get cannabis prescribed to me in the hospital in Denver. Why not?? Let's change this!

Joe Trefry
Joe Trefry

I know that having a red card interferes with getting a concealed carry permit.

Kedhrin Gonzalez
Kedhrin Gonzalez

the tax is not too high. people should be honored to give back to the community for weed. people who avoid paying the tax are scum. give back to the community who helped us gain this right.

Kandi Kandi
Kandi Kandi

And can you blame them?? $90 a 1/8 is ridiculous...ive had my card for years and pay $25 a 1/8 at the very most

Doug Hubka
Doug Hubka

Let's see .You can buy pot at the market price and pay taxes , or you can feign some kind of illness and buy it for less. What do you think people will do ?

Julia Story
Julia Story

There is also probably a large influx of new patients based on peoples' fears before full legalization. Many people were still scared of legal ramifications before but now that we have state-wide legalization it 'feels' safer.

Justin Kershman
Justin Kershman

Probably...which will somehow screw it up for us that had ours before legalization.

Zed Lepplin
Zed Lepplin

I feel like a VIP at the MMC. Come right in mr red card holder. Meanwhile 40 rec customers burning a hole thru you. haha

Zed Lepplin
Zed Lepplin

You don't have to wait in line if you have a red card and the price is cheaper.

Aaron Thompson
Aaron Thompson

Is this a real question? Why would people CHOOSE to pay more

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

Now, you know you don't just 'sign' up for a MM license, don't you? You have to have a medical doctor with a current license write a recommendation for one of the accepted medical conditions for medical treatment. AND then it can still be denied by the CDHPE.

Clark Schiring
Clark Schiring

Shayne Barrett the people figuring out how to pay less are stupid? Might want to double check your math there bro. Paying taxes is one thing, being gouged is another.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

If you are a self proclaimed recreational marijuana user, stay recreational.  Please DO NOT ABUSE THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM to save money.  If you want to save money, grow your own flowers, don't commit fraud.

Jason Wagner
Jason Wagner

The article isn't about buying illegally.

Melinda Stanley
Melinda Stanley

There is undoubtedly a percentage of people who do just that. But I hope, strongly, that it isn't the case for the majourity. That's screwing it up for the legit folks and making all the detractors points for them against mmj. So for the people who DO sign up under false pretenses: way to potentially fuck it up for everybody (especially those with debilitating/chronic/fatal illnesses instead of just a desire to get high), you tools

DelnDeb Cooper
DelnDeb Cooper

they take your i.d. to check your age they do not record anything personal.

Cody Lott
Cody Lott

Rec is obviously jus for out of townrs

Desiree N Ross
Desiree N Ross

Fuck yeah, I am. Paying an average of $30-75 more for weed vs Red Card is outrageous pricing yo.

Kyle Williams
Kyle Williams

They take your ID when you enter even for recreational. They alway write something down too. Not sure what they are doing with the info

Jessica Shrewsbury
Jessica Shrewsbury

And now that you're an admitted drug user you can't legally purchase firearms. Not that everyone wants to have them, but you're name is on a list forever. Many of the people I know don't even have ailments to qualify for a red card, so it's a joke anyway. Rec prices are cheaper than street prices (Georgia) and the tax income is an added plus if CO will use it wisely. So avoid the list if you're not really sick or in pain and contribute to making CO a better place to live. If you can't afford your recreational habit you don't need it anyway.

Marcia Hunsaker
Marcia Hunsaker

Insurance companies can't deny you insurance for pre-existing chronic conditions but they sure can raise the rates. What does it say about Colorado having the highest rates of chronically ill 22 year olds.

Matt Pierce
Matt Pierce

$25 an eighth for medical, $60 or more for recreational. You do the math here.

Debbie Carollo
Debbie Carollo

Absolutely others are! I have been on the list 3 years tho... RA & FM chronic pain and NSAID toxic. Makes this medicine my only option

Shayne Barrett
Shayne Barrett

Amazed at those who said for years they wanted it legal and now bitch about the cost. I have supported legalization for decades, with the understanding that it would be taxed and governed similar to alcohol and tobacco. So I have no problem paying the taxes. (If you can't afford the taxes, you need to reconsider your habits... and your life in general.) I quit buying over 25 years ago because of the fact that that you don't know what you are getting or who you are getting it from. If you die in an illegal pot deal now in Colorado, when you could have just gone to a shop? You lose a lot of sympathy as far as I am concerned. You were born stupid and you died stupid. :P

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... Federal Law prohibits ANY user of ILLEGAL drugs to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition.



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The tax is very much higher than and unlike  that applied to alcohol, contrary to what our Constitution says, and the proceeds are going to the prohibitionists, not back to the community!  Please get a clue.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... feel free to give EVERY PENNY you have, sucker.

fitzbim
fitzbim

@GuestWho Agreed.  I wonder how many cancer patients etc. have been told "sorry all out" because of a bunch of virtue less hacks who are to lazy to grow a plant.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

We do not apply enormous sales tax surcharges to sales of alcohol; we are not now taxing cannabis anything like alcohol -- that is the whole point!  We are not taxing cannabis like alcohol; we are using different taxes, and they are very much larger.  Not only that, all the proceeds are going to prohibitionists in government.

The dispensary system does not operate in most of Colorado, and growing enough for personal use or selling any outside the dispensary system is felonious everywhere in Colorado.  Conduct involving cannabis which is a Class 1 felony with someone one day short of their twenty-first birthday can be completely legal if done the next day.  Our State laws against cannabis remain draconian and are entirely irrational.

Most of your assumptions are wrong.  Please get a clue.  Help end Prohibition in Colorado!

fitzbim
fitzbim

@RobertChase If 3 flowering plants and 3 in veg. state are not enough for your personal consumption than you smoke too much or suck at growing.

All things in moderation.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase ... Marijuana is NOT Alcohol.


A64 explicitly contains provisions and taxes that are NOT like alcohol


The VOTERS approved those provisions via A64, and reaffirmed the MASSIVE TAXES with the overwhelming passage of Prop. AA.


OBEY the WILL of the PEOPLE !!



"I oppose the recreational use of cannabis by minors" 

-- Robert Chase



"Granting the DOR regulatory authority over retail sales of cannabis is not bad at all" 

-- Robert Chase

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@fitzbim  In the interests of full disclosure, I rely on others' experience with regard to the number of plants necessary, not my own.  Many people are less than expert gardeners, and when cannabis is used to make  whole-plant extracts such as Phoenix Tears, I am given to understand that 24-36 plants may be required to provide enough for one person.  Growing seven plants is a felony; it should not be.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fitzbim ... spoken like a know-nothing moron who's never successfully grown their own sustainable supply.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase ... so how many "harmless plants that never killed anyone" should be a felony?



fitzbim
fitzbim

@DonkeyHotay - I actually only need one plant as I have a life outside of getting high.  You should try coming down off that cloud sometime and you might be less of a donkey.

fitzbim
fitzbim

@DonkeyHotay - Well I don't pay taxes do I? I don't pay you do I? Fascinating you is on the bottom of my list I assure you.

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