Medical marijuana registry numbers climb for fourth month in a row

In March, the Colorado medical marijuana patient registry grew for the fourth month in a row in March.

According to statistics released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the total number of Coloradans with red cards stands at a healthy (and getting healthier) 93,393.

The numbers show that 3,747 people signed on to the medical marijuana registry between February and March. Since December, more than 12,800 people have signed on to the registry.

These figures mark the second largest monthly increase since the registry began rebounding in December from a nearly 50,000 patient dip six months prior. At its height in June 2011, the medical marijuana registry had more than 128,690 patients. Officials have said the increase is likely due in part to the registry fee dropping from $90 last year to $35 this year.

As usual, not much else changed on the registry, which shows that 68 percent of Colorado MMJ patients are men. Their average age is 42 -- and that includes the 46 minors who have red cards with parent/guardian approval. Severe pain still accounts for a large percentage of all recommendations, though patients using cannabis for muscle spasms has increased over the last year to nearly 17 percent. The majority of patients -- some 52,3000 people -- live in the seven-county metro area. Second to that is El Paso county, with about 13 percent of all medical patients. The rest are scattered throughout the state.

The majority of patients -- 55 percent -- still designate someone as their primary caregiver. That figure represents a dip of two percentage points from February -- but if each caregiver has the maximum number of five patients, then the total number of caregivers has increased from just over 10,219 to nearly 10,267 in one month. Patients who designate a caregiver can also shop at dispensaries.

Put another way: Assuming everyone was growing their max amount, there were at least 308,196(.9) legal marijuana plants growing in Colorado in March thanks to caregivers alone.

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The registry is also short the nearly 500 patients who were denied over the winter for seeing a physician assistant instead of a doctor. Denied patients were required to wait six months before re-applying, with June being the earliest they could do so.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana bills update: THC driving measure may not be lock, activist says" and "Medical Marijuana Industry Group promotes new THC driving bill."

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