PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Associated Press analysis has found existing medical marijuana programs take a hit when states legalize cannabis for all adults over age 21.
In the most extreme case, the AP found the number of medical cardholders in Oregon dropped nearly two-thirds.
Alaska’s registry dropped by 63%, followed by Nevada with nearly 40% and Colorado with 19%.
Patients in those states who rely on medical marijuana say they are left with fewer and more expensive options.
It’s a paradox playing out nationwide as more states take the leap from care-centered medical programs to recreational models aligned with a multibillion-dollar global industry.
David Mangone, director of government affairs for Americans for Safe Access, says states see a “massive exodus” of medical patients when they legalize marijuana for all adults — and then, in many cases, the remaining ones struggle.
Kastanis is an AP data reporter in Los Angeles. Associated Press writers David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, and Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Flaccus, Kastanis and Blood are members of AP’s marijuana beat team. Follow Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus. Follow AP’s complete marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/Marijuana.