Medical marijuana licenses drop off

The rolls of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry have declined sharply since a peak in summer, and the state health department cannot say why with much certainty. At its height on June 30, the registry had 128,698 active medical marijuana licenses. In the latest count on Oct. 31, the number of licenses had dropped to 88,872 — 2,219 of them in Pueblo county. “If you talk to five different people you might get five different answers for the decline,” said Mark Salley, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

For the most part, Colorado’s medical marijuana license numbers had climbed steadily for more than a year since federal enforcement in states where pot is legal medicine was relaxed. Legislation in 2010 that created stricter criteria for doctor-patient relationships in the issuance of medical marijuana licenses could be one factor, and so could companion legislation that enabled communities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Licenses must be renewed annually. Salley said some cost-conscious license holders could be waiting until Dec. 30, when the application fee for the registry drops to $35 from $90. “There may even be some folks whose conditions improved and they no longer need it,” Salley said.

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