COLORADO: The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry saw a decrease of more than 1,000 active red cards at the end of May – marking the second straight month of such declines, despite nearly 6,000 new patient applications over that time period. As of May 31, there were 105,886 active medical marijuana patients in the state, down 1,276 from the month before. Over the same period, the total number of new patient applications received to date by the CDPHE increased by 3,172 to 220,637. It’s been the same story since November, when Amendment 64 passed: While the number of applications is high, the number of people either not renewing or dropping off the registry has far surpassed any growth in new patients.
As we’ve pointed out before, activists and state officials predicted a decline in patient numbers after Amendment 64 passed and patients no longer had to pay money to the state and register with the health department in order to cultivate cannabis on their own. And if recreational cannabis shops ever open up, many people have said they’ll drop their red cards since they’ll no longer be needed to purchase cannabis if you’re an adult 21 and over. Still, in the eight months since the November election, the registry has only dropped by about 1,000 active cardholders.
But a sub-par audit of the CDPHE medical marijuana registry program released earlier this week may help hasten the decline. Among the more troubling parts of the audit was information showing that the CDPHE has had fifteen confidentiality breaches of the “confidential” registry over the last four years. Most were to CDPHE employees who didn’t have permission to see the data, and the rest were cards mailed to incorrect addresses. But with simple mistakes like that occurring, patients may find it hard to trust the department to keep their information confidential.