The latest year-to-date report from Arizona Department of Health Services shows that state dispensaries sold a record 29 tons of medical marijuana in 2016.
Registered medical marijuana patients in Arizona purchased a state-record 29 tons of cannabis products in 2016, according to the latest report from the state Department of Health Services. The sales numbers for the year reflect a 53 percent increase compared to 2015, a year when 19 tons of marijuana was sold.
The average monthly sales totals gradually increased over 2016, with over 3 tons sold in the month December, up from nearly 2 tons sold in January. Of the total cannabis product sold at the state’s 131 legal dispensaries over the year, about 93 percent (27 tons) were dried flower while the rest was products like edibles, concentrates, and capsules.
With an average of 9 percent state and local sales tax rate, and using the assumption of a $350 price per ounce, the Phoenix New Times estimates that the Arizona State Treasury collected at least $29.5 million extra in 2016 from medical marijuana sales.
The significant surge in sales is attributed to an increase in Arizona medical marijuana patients registered with the Department of Health Services. The state saw a 29 percent increase in patients from the year prior. According to the report, there were 114,439 patients registered at the end of 2016, compared to 88,500 patients at the end of 2015.
Half of the registered patients last year resided in Maricopa County, with Pima County far behind at 13 percent.
Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana in November 2010. Under the law, patients that obtain a written certification from a physician for medical marijuana are legally allowed to use and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a 14-day period. The state’s program has 13 qualifying conditions and symptoms: Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, severe and chronic pain, severe or persistent muscle spasms, and severe nausea.
Over 80 percent (99,767) of the qualified medical marijuana patients in 2016 were using cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain. Nearly 10 percent (11,617) were treating two or more conditions.
The largest proportion of patients (24 percent), were between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The report found a significant gender imbalance among registered patients: Men made up nearly 64 percent of registered patients, while 36 percent were women.
Voters in Arizona had the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana last November, but Proposition 205 was defeated, with 52 percent opposing the measure. A fiscal analysis published last July projected that the measure would have meant $495.8 million in annual recreational marijuana sales and nearly $124 million in annual tax revenue. Advocates have said they intend to try to get another adult use measure on a ballot in a coming election, either in 2018 or 2020.
You can read the entire Arizona Medical Marijuana Program report here.