Medical marijuana registry roller coaster: Slight increase in active cards

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The monthly harvest of medical marijuana patient data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is dried, cured and ready for consumption.

For the first time in three months, the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry saw an increase in patients with current and active red cards. At the end of June, there were 106,817 registered medical marijuana patients in the state, 931 more than at the end of May.

The marijuana industry has been on a roller coaster for the last eight months, ever since the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized possession and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis. But even with all the ups and downs, registry numbers have held close to constant, at just above 100,000 people.

While the registry grew by 931 patients in June, scores of patients could still be dropping off or not renewing their cards. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment received 3,056 new patient applications that month and didn't report any rejections over that same time period; that means 2,125 people who were patients in May were not registered patients in June.

In June 2011, at its highest point, the registry had 128,690 active red cards. That figure dipped to 80,558 in November of that year before rebounding to 100,000 in June 2012.

The statistics also show that there are 39 medical marijuana patients in Colorado under the age of eighteen. The most famous of these would likely be Charlotte Figi, a child suffering from Dravet Syndrome who was part of a Sanjay Gupta special on CNN this past Sunday, during which the doctor publicly came out in support of medical cannabis as a treatment. That total is down three children from the month before.

Also notable in the stats is an increase of about 1,600 patients who opted to have a dispensary or caregiver grow cannabis on their behalf. Most opt for the dispensary over a private caregiver, according to the CDPHE.

On a related note, the registry reports that its average turnaround time for applications was down from 22 days in May to 12 days in June -- much shorter than in the past. Since every fall traditionally sees a large bubble of patient renewals, now might be a good time to get to the doctor and avoid a delay.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana Policy Project's eight worst state legislators -- with a Coloradan at number one" and "Eric Holder calls for drug-sentencing reform but is silent on Colorado pot law."

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