In states that have both an active medical marijuana program and a legal recreational market, medical sales are dropping as many patients are now opting to get their cannabis through the easily accessible retail system, where prices tend to be lower and the range of available cannabis products is broader.
The numbers of registered medical marijuana patients in states that have introduced recreational cannabis sales have been steadily decreasing over the past few years, reports Marijuana Business Daily. The sharpest decline is in Oregon, where patient numbers have dropped 42 percent since the state began recreational sales in the fall of 2016. Nevada has seen a similar trend, with patient numbers down 32 percent since recreational cannabis was brought to the Silver State in October 2017.
And while numbers are also down in Colorado, the dip has not been as significant. Medical sales actually increased for a few years after recreational cannabis was brought to the states, but began to fall in 2017.
But that doesn't mean that medical marijuana programs are in danger of becoming extinct. Although their numbers are shrinking, the overall number of medicinal cannabis users remains strong, though the makeup of the average consumer has changed. So MMJ companies need to adapt to cater to the changing demographics of cannabis patients. In Oregon, Colorado and Nevada, roughly 20 percent (1 in 5) MMJ patients are 65 or older. And females represent more than one third (38 percent) of patients in Colorado and almost half (43 percent) in Oregon.
So the future definitely appears to be female for the medical marijuana industry.