After a two month pause in growth following the November elections, Nevada medical cannabis patient growth jumped by 4.1% in February to 26,519. This follows 0.3% growth in December and 0.4% growth in January, the slowest rates since the 0.2% monthly growth in in June 2015.
Year-over-year growth of 74% is still beneath the triple-digit growth rates from June to October but remains robust. We reached out to Leslie Bocskor of Electrum Partners for some insight, and he suggested several factors that may explain the pause in December and January, including confusion over the timing of legalization, potential streamlining of the process for medical recommendations and improvements in the supply of medical cannabis recently.
There was and still is a lack of clarity as to when and how recreational cannabis will be available. I am sure that many people who were considering going through the process to get a medical recommendation waited until January 1, when the law took effect, only to discover they still had to wait.
Leslie Bocskor, Electrum Partners
The full report from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public and Behavioral Health, which also breaks down the cardholders by age and medical condition, can be found here. Severe pain represents the most common qualifying condition at over 84%, followed by muscle spasms, at 12.5%. 0.2% of card-holders are under 18 and are excluded from this data, which compares the cardholders to the overall Nevada adult population based on 2010 census data. Similar to what we reported as of November 2015, the patient population tends to be older than the overall Nevada population, with 39.1% of the cardholders 55 or older compared to 31.4% of the adult population. Those between 18 and 24 represent 12.1% of the adult population but just 6.2% of the cardholders.