The battle over legalizing marijuana in Colorado has been going on for a long time, but in January, a judge’s ruling threw a wrench in the works. The state’s cannabis commission had argued that laws banning it in counties with no recreational pot shops would violate the will of the voters, who voted for legalization in 2012. The Denver Post reports: “The judges agreed with the commission that some of the pot districts were ‘potentially legally flawed’ because the voters did not specifically authorize recreational sales in those areas.”
According to a new report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a whopping 53,007 Oklahomans are interested in obtaining medical cannabis in the state’s unserved market. The report said that Oklahoma has a “huge” medical marijuana opportunity, but that the state is currently operating on a medical marijuana model that is “completely untested.” The report noted that while the state has more than 4,000 people on its medical marijuana registry, none of them have been able to obtain a medical marijuana card, since the state does not have a single dispensary.
There are, unfortunately, some states where medical marijuana is not legal, but that doesn’t mean people are going without. A new report reveals the number of people living in states where medical marijuana is illegal who are currently looking for an alternative to pharmaceuticals, as more and more states decide to legalize the cannabis plant.. Read more about dispensary near me and let us know what you think.
According to statistics given to CNHI by the Department of Health, more than 50,000 individuals who have registered for medical marijuana reside in one of 29 rural counties that do not have any medical marijuana shops.
The agency released the material when the state’s Office of Open Records demanded it. The Department of Health originally declined to disclose the information, claiming that doing so would violate patient privacy rights enshrined in the state’s Medical Marijuana Law.
In July, the Office of Open Records dismissed the department’s objections, stating that aggregated data on the medicinal marijuana program would not infringe the privacy of any individual patient.
“It would be ridiculous to find the sought aggregated data to be secret. Information like the overall number of Pennsylvanians who use the medical marijuana program would be private under such a wide interpretation of secrecy, and disclosing that number might result in criminal penalties. Kyle Applegate, general counsel for the Office of Open Records, stated in the ruling ordering the Department of Health to disclose the data, “The OOR cannot infer that this was the General Assembly’s purpose.”
According to Meredith Buettner, executive director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, a trade organization representing growers and dispensary owners, this is the first time the agency has made the information public.
The data was requested by the cannabis business organization because it might assist them make choices about where to put shops, she said, even though the Department of Health has recognized that the program is underserving vast parts of the state.
Dispensary owners have been forced to make choices about where to site dispensaries based on market surveys and demographic statistics, according to Buettner, since they don’t have access to information on patient residence by county.
“Having patient numbers broken down by county may aid us in making business choices about where to put the remaining dispensaries that have yet to operate in order to meet patients’ demands. You know, it’d make the whole thing a lot simpler. “That information has never been provided to anyone,” Buettner added. “If you did a Google search for other medical marijuana regulating organizations throughout the nation, you might discover this information.”
There are 127 dispensaries in the state, according to the Department of Health’s website. Up to 198 dispensaries are now permitted under state legislation.
John Collins, head of the Medicinal Marijuana Program, claimed there are 367,925 active patients purchasing medical marijuana during a Medical Marijuana Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday.
Collins stated during a meeting of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board in May that patients in disadvantaged regions, especially in north-central Pennsylvania, must travel at least half an hour and often as much as two hours to reach the closest facility.
Despite this caution, the agency originally refused to provide the number of inhabitants per county until the Office of Open Records ordered it.
As of Aug. 13, according to the statistics supplied to CNHI, the program has 595,336 patients registered. According to the statistics, 53,293 individuals who applied for medicinal marijuana reside in counties without shops.
There are less than 1,000 individuals registered to use medicinal marijuana in seven of the counties without dispensaries: Cameron, Forest, Fulton, Juniata, Potter, Sullivan, and Tioga.
According to Buettner, the number of patients includes everyone who has applied for a medical marijuana card since medical marijuana sales began in 2018. Those who qualify for medicinal marijuana must have a doctor certify that they have one of 23 severe medical diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or cancer. Some individuals who enrolled for medicinal marijuana may have passed away since then. She claims that in certain instances, the patient might have taken medicinal marijuana until their health improved and then quit.
Residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery made up around 182,000 of those who applied for medical marijuana cards. There are 40 dispensaries in that region.
Montgomery County has 14 dispensaries and 44,000 medicinal marijuana patients. There are 13 dispensaries in Philadelphia, which has over 58,000 medicinal marijuana patients.
Allegheny County, in western Pennsylvania, has ten dispensaries and 63,910 medicinal marijuana users.
For the purposes of managing the medicinal marijuana program, the Department of Health split the state into six zones.
- Six counties in the Northwestern area, which has 42,136 medicinal marijuana users, lack dispensaries: Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, Venango, and Warren. Only Venango has more than 2,000 medicinal marijuana patients among the six counties, with 2,262 individuals. The remaining seven counties in the area have nine dispensaries.
- Seven counties in the North-Central Region, which has 27,206 medicinal marijuana users, lack dispensaries. There are no more than 2,000 patients in any of the counties. Six dispensaries are located across the region’s other five counties.
- Five counties in the Northeastern Region, which has 79,927 medicinal marijuana users, have no dispensaries: Carbon, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming. There are 3,407 medicinal marijuana patients in Carbon, 3,108 in Pike, and 2,521 in Wayne. The other five counties in the area have 19 dispensaries.
- Only four counties in the Southwestern Region, which has 126,677 medicinal marijuana users, do not have dispensaries: Armstrong, Greene, Indiana, and Somerset. In the remaining seven counties, there are 25 dispensaries.
- Six counties in the South-Central Region, which has 89,557 medicinal marijuana users, have no dispensaries: Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, and Perry. There are more over 2,000 medicinal marijuana patients in three of those counties: Bedford has 3,029, Huntingdon has 2,174, and Perry has 2,108. In the remaining seven counties in the area, there are 21 dispensaries.
- Only one county, Schuylkill County, has no dispensaries in the Southeastern Region, which has 229,837 medicinal marijuana users. According to Department of Health statistics, Schuylkill County has 6,226 medicinal marijuana patients, much more than any other county without a dispensary. The other seven counties in the area have 47 dispensaries.
Patients using medical marijuana by county (PA)
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