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U.S. Medical Cannabis Enrollment Is Up Overall In 2024 But Down In Most Rec States

California became the first state to ever pass a medical cannabis legalization measure back in 1996, and since that time, dozens of other states have done the same. What constitutes medical cannabis legalization has evolved since the 1990s, with states ranging from allowing medical cannabis program approval for any condition to limiting medical cannabis reform to CBD-only policies.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “As of Apr. 24, 2023, 38 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products.”

In April 2024, a team of researchers representing various universities and entities examined medical cannabis program enrollment rates across the United States, including in states that had also adopted recreational cannabis legalization policies.

“Total patient volume and prevalence per 10 000 persons in the total population, symptoms or conditions qualifying patients for licensure (that is, patient-reported qualifying conditions), and number of authorizing clinicians.” the researchers stated about the study’s measurements.

“Enrolled patients increased 33.3% from 2020 (3 099 096) to 2022 (4 132 098), with a corresponding 23.0% increase in the population prevalence of patients (175.0 per 10 000 in 2020 to 215.2 per 10 000 in 2022). However, 13 of 15 jurisdictions with nonmedical adult-use laws had decreased enrollment from 2020 to 2022.” the researchers stated.

“The proportion of patient-reported qualifying conditions with substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic value decreased from 70.4% (2020) to 53.8% (2022). Chronic pain was the most common patient-reported qualifying condition in 2022 (48.4%), followed by anxiety (14.2%) and posttraumatic stress disorder (13.0%). In 2022, the United States had 29 500 authorizing clinicians (7.7 per 1000 patients), 53.5% of whom were physicians. The most common specialties reported were internal or family medicine (63.4%), physical medicine and rehabilitation (9.1%), and anesthesia or pain (7.9%).” the researchers also stated.

“Enrollment in medical cannabis programs increased overall but generally decreased in jurisdictions with nonmedical adult-use laws.” the study‘s authors concluded.

The United States adult-use cannabis industry has generated over $20 billion in total tax revenue since the first legal recreational cannabis purchase was made in Colorado on January 1st, 2014 according to a new report by the Marijuana Policy Project.

“Through the first quarter of 2024, states have reported a combined total of more than $20 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales. In 2023 alone, legalization states generated more than $4 billion in cannabis tax revenue from adult-use sales, which is the most revenue generated by cannabis sales in a single year.” the Marijuana Policy project stated in a press release.

Total legal cannabis sales in the United States are expected to reach $31.4 billion in 2024 according to a recent analysis by Whitney Economics. Additionally, leading cannabis jobs platform Vangst, in conjunction with Whitney Economics, estimates that the legal cannabis industry now supports 440,445 full time-equivalent cannabis jobs in the United States.

Whitney Economics also projects the following legal cannabis sales figures in the United States for the coming years:

  • 2024: $31.4 billion (9.1% growth from 2023)
  • 2025: $35.2 billion (12.1% growth from 2024)
  • 2030: $67.2 billion
  • 2035: $87.0 billion

The emerging legal cannabis industry in the United States is projected to add roughly $112 billion to the nation’s economy in 2024 according to a newly released analysis by MJBiz Daily. The projection is part of the company’s 2024 MJBiz Factbook.

“The total U.S. economic impact generated by regulated marijuana sales could top $112.4 billion in 2024, about 12% more than last year,” MJBiz stated in its initial reporting.