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Medical marijuana patient numbers rise to more than 104K in August

It's that time of the month again! No, not harvest time. Much less enjoyable than that.

Yup, you got it: It's the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's update to the medical marijuana patient registry statistics page. And the numbers are going up...again.

According to CDPHE stats, the total number medical marijuana patients in Colorado with active red cards continued to climb from July to August, though large numbers of patients are still dropping out.

As of the end of August, 104,138 medical marijuana patients were signed up with the Department of Public Health and Environment. That is 2,918 patients more than the month before.

At its height, the registry totaled nearly 128,700 people. This marks the second month in a row that the registry has been above 100,000 patients since falling below that level in October 2011 as part of a five-month dip that bottomed out at 80,558 patients.

But the stats for August also show that 6,593 new patient applications had been received between the end of July and the end of August, which implies that as many as 3,625 patients either let their cards expire, dropped off voluntarily or were kicked off the registry by state officials. That's been a common occurrence since the active card numbers began to rebound last December.

The Denver area still has the highest concentration of registered medical marijuana patients, as has generally been the case since 2009 when the CDPHE began displaying statistics online. Average age is still 41, and just shy of one-third of all patients are women.

More than 97,500 patients are signed up for severe pain, while muscle spasms and nausea are the number two and three conditions for a doctors recommendation, with a combined total of 29,685 patients. (Patients can be register under more than one condition, as is my case. I'm listed under both severe nausea and severe pain.)

While we're on the topic of red cards: Over the last few weeks, we here at Westword have heard from a few patients, as well as from doctor's assistants, who say it has been taking a long time to get their card and renewals. However, the CDPE is still reporting turnaround of between 35 and 45 days after submission.

The CDPHE site also lists denied applications in the last 35 days, using the certified mail receipt number as the patient identifier. Currently, there are no denied applications on the list. If you are concerned that it's taking too long, you can call the CDPHE MMJ line at 303-692-2184 after 35 days.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: One pot bust every 42 seconds, FBI stats show" and "Marijuana: Amendment 64 opponents lying, intimidating supporters, says Mason Tvert."