Medical marijuana: Health department registry stats show 5 percent decline in red cards

After nearly four months, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (finally) updated its medical marijuana stats page yesterday. And although the latest information is from August, it does hint at a slight decline over the last two months in the number of people holding a red card.

Out of the 154,148 total new cards issued since system started in 2000, as many as 127,816 of them were still valid as recently as August 31, 2011 -- a slight decline from the previous two months, but still 24,000 patients more than August of last year.

The registry peaked in June 2011, with 128,698 patients -- meaning that at least 7,222 people have opted out of the system over the next two months. Not nearly half of the registry, as some people predicted, but still a notable 5 percent decrease.

According to the two-month-old data, the registry is still dominated by men (68 percent), and the average age for all patients hovers around 41, up one year from August of 2010. More than half (56 percent) of all medical marijuana patients live in the metro area and severe pain accounts for 94 percent of all recommendations.

Also interesting to note is that 64 percent of all patients designated a primary caregiver as of August 2011, down two percentage points from the month before. Though it doesn't necessarily mean that they are only getting their herb from their CG, a solid majority of patients have signed someone else up to grow herb for them.

No telling when the September information will be posted, though CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley says the CDPHE usually updates the information monthly.

More from our Marijuana archives: "Medical marijuana seed-to-sale tracking system already worrying advocates -- but should it?" and "Medical marijuana dispensary review: Berkeley MMC in Mountain View"

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