Old, young alike partake of medical marijuana

Mohave County users among most numerous in state

State of Arizona/Courtesy

State of Arizona/Courtesy

KINGMAN - When it comes to medical marijuana, Arizonans in their 20s and 50s have a lot in common.

Unfortunately, it's under the umbrella of chronic pain, which is what a state report lists as the qualifying condition for nearly 72 percent of all approved active cardholders in the state.

And as of last month, Mohave County ranks among the highest concentrations of medical marijuana cardholders, according to a 2014 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act report, which places Kingman and Lake Havasu City alongside Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott.

As of the end of last month, 2,381 Mohave County residents were registered medical marijuana cardholders, according to Arizona Department of Health Services staff.

That's about 5 percent of all medical marijuana cardholders in the state, according to ADHS.

Metro Phoenix has the highest concentration of cardholders, although statistics on those patients are not listed by county.

The state keeps track of them using Community Health Analysis Areas, which are relatively small, community-based geographic units with a large enough population base to do statistical analysis.

Many areas in and around Phoenix area have between 947 and 1,456 cardholders, the most numerous groupings in the state's listing.

The Kingman CHAA ranks in the next category down, among areas having between 634 and 946 cardholders, according to the report.

Released last week, the report contains data collected over the past three years beginning shortly after voters passed Proposition 203 in 2010.

The CHAA's were developed in 2005, according to the state health department.

The report shows that, between the 11,764 card-carrying 18-30 year olds and the 10,389 card-carrying 51-60 year olds, both groups constitute just shy of 50 percent of all medical marijuana patients statewide.

Although the state issued both groups a comparable number of medical marijuana cards, the younger demographic processed about twice as many transactions, or about 180 pounds more than the older demographic from 2011 to 2014, according to the report.

Arizona law allows patients who qualified for medical marijuana through furnishing medical records and doctor's visits to possess up to 2.5 ounces, or about 71 grams, of marijuana every two weeks.

The report shows altogether, since the law passed, about 3.5 metric tons of medical marijuana has been dispensed.

And 70 percent of all medical marijuana patients in Arizona are male, according to the report.

Male medical marijuana patients in Arizona exceed 70 percent of all cardholders up until the age of 50, when numbers begin to level off to around 62 to 68 percent, according to the report.

Conversely, female medical marijuana patients in Arizona increase gradually from ages 18 to 80 and above, the latter age being when women cardholders outpace men.

The number of dispensaries is based on the number of pharmacies in the state, and the AMMA report shows 1,175 licensed employees or volunteers at Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries.

As of January 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services anticipated issuing 126 dispensary registration certificates.

"That's the most we can have under the law," said Laura Oxley, public information officer for ADHS, adding that the current number is 78.

In comparison, there are currently 249 Walgreens pharmacies in Arizona, according to the company's website.