By Linda Kor
Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Program is in full swing and an annual report unveiled by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) shows that last year there were 422,495 transactions resulting in a sale 2.7 tons of marijuana. The data, which covers January to December 2013, also details the number of applicants, active cardholders, and how the numbers have changed regarding caregivers and dispensaries.
Each year patients must renew their cards. Last year the ADHS received 46,501 cardholder applications, a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Of those applications, 1,581 were for caregivers, reflecting a 50 percent decrease from the previous year, and 1,324 dispensary agent applications, a 90 percent increase over the previous year.
At the end of the 2013 calendar year, there were 71 dispensaries in operation throughout the state and 973 dispensary agents approved to work in a dispensary, a seven-fold increase in the number of dispensary agents from when the ADHS began issuing dispensary certificates in August 2012.
The report shows that in Navajo County, with an overall population of 107,922, 889 people qualified to receive a medical marijuana card last year, a 30 percent increase over the 629 who qualified in 2012. It also shows that Navajo County ranks fifth among the 15 counties for the number of qualifying patients per 1,000 residents at 8.2, the same as in the 2012 report.
The county had 569 qualified patients authorized to cultivate marijuana and 18 caregivers, ranking it second highest in the state for qualified patients authorized to cultivate marijuana, with Gila County ranking first.
Across the state, approximately 80 percent of the qualifying patients had one debilitating condition, while 16 percent had two, and two percent had three or more debilitating medical conditions. Of the conditions that qualify for the program, 73 percent of the qualifying patients suffered from “severe and chronic pain.”
Patients between 18 and 30 years old had the highest number of transactions, followed by patients ages 31 to 40, then patients ages 51 to 60.
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By Linda Kor