State Capitol News
2:36 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

State Pot Consumption Numbers Coming Out of the Shadows

The state’s more than 43,000 medical marijuana patients smoked, ate or otherwise consumed close to three tons of the weed last year. And that’s just what we know about. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Credit NPR

State Health Director Will Humble said the figure reflects how much the state’s 71 dispensaries sold in 2013. But, he pointed out that most did not open their doors until late in the year. And prior to that, medical marijuana users were entitled to grow their own. Now, with dispensaries statewide, Humble said all that self-grow should go away — and lots more sales this year will go through dispensaries where they are recorded.

“It could be 7 to 10 metric tons,” Humble said. “I think we’re probably going to see at least a doubling and maybe a tripling of the quantities that are bought at dispensaries in 2014 when you compare to 2013.”

The report also found that Friday is the busiest day for marijuana sales, followed closely by Saturday. Humble won’t comment on why. But, he said it’s likely impossible to create a program where only those who need the drug can get it.

“Well, I think we have a hybrid program, to be honest with you,” he said. “We’ve done everything that we could possibly do within the structure of the law that was passed by the voters to try to keep it as medical as we can. There’s obviously recreational patients within the system.”

Humble also found that, on a per-capita basis, there are more medical marijuana users in Yavapai, Gila and Coconino counties than the rest of the state.