San Francisco, CA: The number of patients in California using marijuana medicinally under a doctor's supervision is rising dramatically and now tops 75,000, according to estimates released this week by California NORML. The total is more than double the total number of patients estimated by the organization in a 2002 survey of patients' groups, registration programs, and physicians that appeared in the March 2003 issue of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.
"The concentration of medical marijuana patients varies between different regions of the state, being highest in northern California, which has by far the greatest number of patients' groups, dispensaries, and medical cannabis resources," California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer said, noting that local registration programs in Oakland and Mendocino County indicate that medical cannabis patients total approximately one percent of the local adult population.
Gieringer adds that a similar rise in the number of state-authorized medicinal marijuana patients is simultaneously occurring in Oregon. According to an Associated Press story published this week, more than 7,500 Oregonians possess state identification cards to use medicinal cannabis - up from 4,650 last July. (Unpublished reports estimate the current total is actually closer to 10,000.) Gieringer attributes this trend to a "growing acceptance of medical cannabis in the medical community," noting that "1,500 physicians are known to have recommended marijuana in California, and some five percent of all licensed physicians in Oregon."