The state of Michigan raked in $10.8 million during 2013 through the state medical marijuana program.
With $4 million in expenses, medical marijuana provided a $6.8 million boost to the state finances, according to a Jan. 1, 2014 report on medical marijuana in Michigan filed to the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) department.
Last year’s profits are slightly higher than 2012, when the state generated $6.2 million in revenue from medical marijuana.
As part of the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA), a statistical report must be submitted to the state at the beginning of each year. The revenue is generated through licensing fees.
Between Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, 82,193 applications for a medical marijuana card were approved while 11,612 applications were denied. The state approved 36,175 applications for a renewed license and denied 8,672 patients with existing licenses.
Amongst the 118,368 total registered medical marijuana cardholders, 7,988 of them reside in Genesee County, the fourth numerous county in the state for registered medical marijuana holders. Wayne ranks the highest at 14,169 registered patients, followed by Oakland at 10,741 and Macomb at 7,997.
Compared to last year’s numbers, medical marijuana patients in Genesee and Oakland counties have fallen 243 and 376, respectively. Overall, there were 124,131 cardholders in 2012.
Patients seeking a medical marijuana card must have a health condition to do so. Severe and chronic pain accounted for nearly 70 percent of claims, followed by severe and persistent muscle spasms, severe nausea and seizures.
No registry cards were revoked in 2013 and 2012. The number of doctors registered to prescribe medical marijuana dipped from 1,928 in 2012 to 1,457 in 2013.
Legal disputes over dispensaries caused local municipalities to amend medical marijuana ordinances a few times in the past few years. From moratoriums to outright bans, each municipality responded differently as medical marijuana continued to grow. Currently, dispensaries remain illegal but a slew of House bills may make medical marijuana shops legal again. Only one medical marijuana dispensary was established in the tri-county area, Well Greens in Holly. Since being raided by police in early 2013, incidents involving law enforcement and medical marijuana have been nonexistent in Holly.
“We’re following the current state law and federal regulations,” said Jerry Walker, village manager. “There have been little to no inquiries on dispensaries, which are not allowed in the community at this time.”
Other recent developments in medical marijuana include approval of prescribing medical marijuana for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a bill to legalize medical marijuana in pill form.
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