As supporters of legalizing marijuana for recreational use continue their efforts in Michigan, the number of people who’ve obtained medical marijuana cards to use cannabis for health reasons has been on a steady increase over the past several years.
Latest figures from the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – which oversees the medical marijuana registry program – show a 23 percent increase this year in registered medical marijuana patients throughout Michigan, totaling 269,553 compared to last year’s 218,556 registered patients. In Oakland County, the number of registered patients jumped 29 percent over last year, from 24,416 to 31,587.
Statewide, the number of registered caregivers rose 13 percent in the past year, from 38,107 to 43,183, while Oakland County saw an 18 percent increase, from 3,963 to 4,679.
The state had 182,091 registered marijuana patients in 2015, 96,408 in 2014 and 118,368 in 2013. In Oakland County, there were 18,656 registered patients in 2015, 9,330 in 2014 and 10,741 in 2013.
Applications filed statewide for medical marijuana cards – which are good for two years and cost $60 – total 152,434 this year, compared to 148,908 in 2016, an increase just under 2.5 percent. These include applications for new patients as well as renewals.
Over the last five years, severe and chronic pain has overwhelming been the most common condition listed by registered medical marijuana users. Percentage claiming that condition:
• 2017 – 92.77 percent
• 2016 – 79.99 percent
• 2015 – 92.8 percent
• 2014 – 93.7 percent
• 2013 – 68.44 percent
A break-down of conditions listed by county or city aren’t available, according to David Harns, public information officer for LARA.
Acceptable conditions for registered medical marijuana users, established in the 2008 Medical Marihuana Act, include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C,