Medical marijuana provider and user numbers up in 2021

DES MOINES — The number of providers and people using the state’s medical-marijuana program increased last year as the state came out of the pandemic.  

Program Bureau Chief Owen Parker says the number of providers increased to 1600 in 2021.  “And that was a 21% increase over 2020 — at the end of 2020 we had a little over 1300 providers,” Parker says. 

He says they started seeing the impact of the law change that added those who can prescribe medical cannabis for patients.  He says 50% of the new prescribers were Advanced Registered Nurses,  40 percent were doctors and less than one percent were podiatrists. He says the number of people with got cards for medical marijuana increased to more than eight thousand. “During the pandemic due to numerous issues that we came up with solutions for, we had a little less than five thousand at the end of 2020. So we’ve seen almost a 60% increase in the total patient population since 2020 ended,” according to Parker. 

Parker says the age of those getting the products hasn’t changed dramatically. “There’s always a concern about who’s participating in the program.  But at this point less than two percent of the population is under the age of 18,” he says, “And then, it’s really kind of broken down 50-50 between those under the age of 50 and those over the age of 50.”

Parker says sales went up in 2021. )”We saw over $6.2 million in sales — that’s a 76% increase over the three-point-five that we saw in the year before. We are seeing about 3300 average transactions per month, which when you compare year-end end 2020, is 36% more traffic,” according to Parker. 

He says the average transaction price stayed right about $150.  Parker made his comments at the Board’s meeting last week.