In March, the Colorado Board of Health will consider a proposal to hike annual application and renewal fees for medical marijuana patients from $29.50 to $52 a year. According to the state Department of Public Health and Environment, which oversees the Medical Marijuana Registry, the increase is necessary because the “current fee does not generate enough revenue to sustain the program.”
The registry was set up to run on funding generated by patient applications, but the need to replace an “aging” online registration system requires a bump in fees, according to a January 16 CDPHE memo. And those who remain registered will have to carry a growing financial burden, because patient numbers are dropping fast.
Colorado’s medical marijuana patient count peaked in 2011 at around 128,000, reports the CDPHE, which anticipated a gradual drop after recreational pot sales began in 2014. After an initial fall, the number held between 80,000 and 90,000 until late 2021. Since then, however, patient numbers have steadily declined; they were under 66,000 as of December.
By June 2024, registry officials estimate that only around 58,000 patients will be enrolled in the program — and that concerns Cannabis Clinicians Colorado director Martha Montemayor. A nonprofit organization that connects…