Ed Sealover at the Denver Business Journal released an overall fawning profile of GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Walker Stapleton earlier today. Given Stapleton’s solidifying reputation for making stuff up on the campaign trail, any such profile is likely to contain an item or two in need of correction, whether or not the reporter catches it–and the latest example wasn’t hard to find:
One significant policy change Stapleton would seek would be a crackdown on the roughly 150,000 state residents who still carry medical-marijuana cards, which allows them tax-free purchasing of the drug, the ability to grow their own plants and the ability to consume the weed at age 18. Moving all but medically necessary card holders into purchasing legalized retail marijuana would increase state tax revenues on the drug by two to three times and ensure that they couldn’t distribute home-grown cannabis to friends, creating a new stream of revenue for transportation and other needs, he said.
Which sounds good except, as medical marijuana advocates quickly pointed out:
Somebody please tell Walker Stapleton that the MMJ registry peaked at 128698 patients back in June of 2011 and it’s been declining ever since
— MedicinalColorado (@MediColorado) May 24, 2018
That’s right, folks! The state of Colorado has never had 150,000 medical marijuana cardholders, and since the passage of Amendment 64 legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012, the number of patients on the state’s medical marijuana registry has steadily declined. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s latest report on Medical Marijuana Registry Program, in April of 2018 there were a total of 88,946 Coloradans with an active medical marijuana card.
For those of you lacking a handy calculator, that’s 59.3% of Stapleton’s claim.
Obviously this has a big negative impact on the utility of Stapleton’s proposed “crackdown” on the medical marijuana registry, since the amount of revenue that could be extracted from medical marijuana patients who were “cracked down on” is directly proportional to the total number of such individuals. Because there have never once been the number of people with medical marijuana “red cards” that Stapleton asserted “still carry” them, we really have no idea how to reconcile this discrepancy.
Unless we already did, in the title of this post.