New Jersey spent more than a decade growing its medical cannabis community — slowly at first, and then all at once. But one year after recreational marijuana sales began, those patients are starting to fall off the rolls at a quickening, snowballing pace.
In the year since New Jersey dispensaries began selling legal weed for personal use, the number of MMJ patients dropped under 129,000 in March, a decrease of nearly 15% since the program's peak in May 2022.
The number of registered patients grew exponentially beginning in 2019, when new laws went into effect that significantly expanded the qualifying conditions to get an MMJ card and loosened costs and restrictions associated with registering and renewing it.
In the year leading to recreational cannabis sales, the number of patients ballooned by 20%, before hitting a peak of 129,369 patients in May 2022, according to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Since then, however, the number of patients has steadily decreased each month — down to 110,232 in March, a 13% year-over-year decline, according to the commission.
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