The latest statistics (PDF) on Montana’s medical marijuana program are out.
Here’s a few highlights:
- 25,017 total patients, 72% reporting Chronic Pain
- 28 Caregivers have more than 100 patients
- 15% of patients live in Missoula County, 13% in Gallatin County, 13% in Flathead County
- Half of all caregivers have just one patient.
- 90% of caregivers have 10 or less patients
- 55 minors under the age of 18 are patients
- Almost half of all patients are age 18-40.
- 31 (out of 349) physicians have written more than 100 recommendations
- 1459 new patients registered between September 2010 and October 2010
So, the program continues to grow.
The 2371 caregivers with a single patient are probably a combination of people growing for their chronically ill loved one, and spouses and room-mates who are helping one another “get legal”. After all, about 100,000 Montanans use cannabis from time to time for personal, social, or spiritual reasons, so it makes sense that a lot more people are avoiding the black market and growing their own. That helps put criminal syndicates out of business — or least forces them to choose a different market.
The 28 caregivers with more than 100 patients are nothing other than small businesses, and probably have several employees and are paying rent for commercial buildings, whether warehouse garden space or storefronts or both. The wages they’re paying those employees are putting food on the tables of Montana families, paying mortgages, and keeping people off public assistance.
I suspect the numbers will continue to grow — at least until the legislature gets done rewriting the law, at which point it’s anyone’s guess.
If you’d like to get action alerts about those changes as they’re being discussed, register your location at at mjdb.montanadrugpolicy.org.