Medical marijuana registry stats continue upward climb in September

The state medical-marijuana registry continued to grow in September, with 107,666 people in Colorado signed up for the program.

The official September tally of valid red cards marks an increase of 3,528 cards from the month before.

The total number of new patient applications filed since the registry was started in 2001 rose to 195,333 in September, an increase of 3,202 over August. That marks only the second time in a year that the monthly increase in the number of active red cards was equal to or greater than the increase of new patient applications.

But that might just be a slight hiccup, not an indication of a real trend.

From July through August, the total number of patient applications rose by more than 6,000 -- but the number of active red cards only went up by about 3,000. Part of that discrepancy reflects the fact that some people weren't renewing their cards, while others were kicked off the registry for violations or removed themselves voluntarily. But it seems that a number of those 6,000 applications weren't processed until September. Officials with the CDPHE confirmed that the bump was due to medical marijuana applications from the previous month carrying over.

Regardless, September also marked the ninth straight month that active patient numbers have grown. From June 2011 through last December the numbers kept dropping, from 128,698 mid-year to 80,558 at the end of 2011.

Most of the registry's other statistics remain constant, however. The majority of the state's patients continue to reside in the metro area. About 53 percent of all patients sign up a caregiver or a dispensary to grow medicine for them (only about 10 percent opt for a private caregiver). The other 47 percent either purchase meds from dispensaries without signing up or grow their own.

Of the 107,666 active patients, 100,845 claim severe pain as their primary ailment. More than 18,000 say they use medical cannabis for muscle spasms, and about 12,000 for severe nausea. (Patients can have medical cards for more than one reason.) Men account for about 68 percent of the registry, with the average age hovering around 41; women on the registry average two years younger.

How will the passage of Amendment 64 affect the registry? Since pot won't be legal to sell for recreational use in this state until 2014 -- at the earliest -- you can expect would-be patients to continue applying well into 2013.

More from ourMarijuana archive: "Amendment 64: John Hickenlooper setting up broad task force regarding marijuana measure" and "Gregg Nelson reportedly fails to enjoy beautiful Colorado scenery thanks to pot brownie."