By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic
Arizonans spent more than half a billion dollars on medical marijuana in 2019, a dollar amount that grew over the previous year and a sign of the substance’s prevalence in a state where voters likely will decide whether to legalize recreational use of it this fall.
Nearly 220,000 medical marijuana patients were in the state’s program as of December, and they purchased almost 83 tons of the drug last year, according to a year-end report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The increase in total weight was 36% higher than the 61 tons bought in 2018, while the number of patients increased 18% year over year.
Most of the marijuana purchased was in dry flower form, accounting for 75 tons, but patients also bought nearly 6,000 pounds of marijuana edibles and 9,226 pounds of other forms of concentrated marijuana.
The statewide sales volume figure is worth about $580 million, using a conservative estimate of marijuana selling for an average of $3,500 a pound. The actual figure could be much greater. Some dispensaries sell high-end marijuana for more than $300 per ounce, or about $5,000 per pound.
“it is no surprise that the medical marijuana industry continues to grow and thrive. The stigma associated with the use of marijuana is dissipating as the dangers associated with conventional pharmaceuticals continue to come to light. People naturally want to be able to treat pain, appetite loss, seizures, and other ailments using more natural remedies. As hemp production comes on line the CBD market will only grow with it, offering products that have many of the medicinal effects without the “high” associated with medical marijuana. “