It’s fairly rare to see a state medical marijuana program decrease in enrollment. It happened once in my home state of Oregon. That dip in patient enrollment was due to a doubling of the enrollment fee for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Michigan saw a dip in patient enrollment for the second straight year, which is interesting considering the fact that Michigan has one of the most established programs in the country. Per Detroit News:
The number of patients in Michigan’s medical marijuana program declined for the second year in a row in 2014, according to state statistics reviewed by The Detroit News.
Last year, the number of identification cards for patients in the program totaled 96,408, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. That compares with 119,470 patients in 2011, and 118,368 in 2013.
The downward trend continued in Metro Detroit, too, with the number of medical marijuana patients falling in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties for a third straight year.
There’s no clear reason why the numbers are decreasing in Michigan. Some point to overzealous law enforcement in some parts of Michigan. Some patients feel that the medical marijuana law in Michigan doesn’t necessarily protect them, and that it’s better to operate in the shadows. Others blame the fact that there are no clear rules for medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan, which has left them open to attacks by law enforcement. Whatever the reason is, it’s a trend that could continue into 2015.