While it’s true the average medical marijuana user tends to shy away from participation in polls which attempt to gather data on who they are, and where they live. Currently, of the 17+ states which allow their residents the use of medicinal marijuana, only a handful of states attempt to collect comprehensive demographics of those enrolled in their programs. The few states that did participate in the collection of this information showed that the most prominent consumers of medical pot tend to be middle-aged men.
As Colorado and Arizona have been the only states to hand over patient data – sorted by gender, we can plainly see that the need for medical weed is primarily male. For instance, in Colorado, males account for 67% of its medical pot smokers… with an even greater discrepancy between genders showing up in Arizona’s data, as 72% of the state’s medical marijuana patients are of the male gender.
The lopsided results tend to reflect the national predisposition for recreational marijuana users across the country. According to the annual National Survey on Drug Use, conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, males continue to use marijuana more than women — at a rate of 11.2 percent of the population compared to 6.8 percent.
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Of the four medical marijuana states that report patient data – sorted by age – it would appear that marijuana smokers tend to be older in general. Perfectly befitting, it appears that being born during the 1960’s and being male is one of the greatest common denominator’s. The average age of Colorado’s medical marijuana patients is approximately 41, while in Montana, it’s 46. Even closer to the Golden AARP years is Nevada, with the highest percentage of pot smokers falling between 55 to 60.
That being said… Arizona still has the highest percentage of user’s puff, puff, passing between the ages of 18 to 30.
As a means of avoiding the unnecessary media circus, and any unhealthy attention on sick children, a relatively small number of MMJ states disclose whether sick kids are even participating in their medical marijuana programs. Of the few states that do report on these numbers, it is easy to conclude that a relatively small number do you participate; 45 in Colorado, 2 in Nevada, and 1 in Montana – for a total of 48 sick kid’s – out of the tens of thousands – of state sanctioned marijuana patients. Following suit, the Massachusetts medical marijuana ordinance is relatively hazy as to whether minors will be allowed to participate in its program.
11 medical marijuana states release their data for public consumption, the rest do not. We can glimpse from the available data, as to be expected ‘the mile high state’ of Colorado came in with the highest number of registered medical marijuana patients at 107,666 happy and relaxed citizens, representing approximately 2.1% of the state’s overall population, not bad.
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Michigan and Oregon rank as the next most saturated medical marijuana state, with an overall usage rate of approximately 1.5% of total Oregonians using medical marijuana; in Michigan it is 1.2 percent.
The rest of the states have less than 1 percent of their population enrolled in medical marijuana programs.
The available numbers also suggest the rate of medical marijuana use tends to creep up through the years as it becomes more available and socially acceptable:
* Colorado recorded 5, 051 patients in January 2009, eight years after medical marijuana was approved. A year later, that number jumped to 53,038. By this September Colorado reported 107,666 patients.
* Arizona approved 579 applications in April 2011, less than a year after the medical marijuana program began. The following year, that number was 25,543. Last month, two years after passing the ballot initiative, Arizona had 33,601 cardholders.
* California, which approved medical marijuana in 1996, issued just 85 cards in fiscal 2004. As the program accelerated and more dispensaries were added, 4,150 cards were issued in fiscal 2005, followed by 10,274 in the year after that. The number has fluctuated since then, reaching a high of 12,659 in fiscal 2009.
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As the feds proved, the numbers can fall quickly if acquiring the medical pot becomes more problematic. Registered California pot patients dropped to 7,801 in fiscal 2011 following a series of federal raids on dispensaries.