30,000 Californians Using Medicinal Marijuana Legally, Study Says

San Francisco, CA:  An estimated 30,000 California patients possess physician’s recommendations to use pot medicinally, according to the results of a study to be published in The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.  California NORML conducted the study, which surveyed numerous statewide patient support groups, local registration programs and physicians.

California is one of nine states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana under a doctor’s supervision.  California voters approved the law in 1996.

According to the survey’s findings, California has the highest concentration of medical pot patients in the country at 89 patients per 100,000.  In other states, medical marijuana users comprise much smaller percentages of the population, ranging from 79 patients per 100,000 in Oregon to a low of 3 patients per 100,000 in Colorado.  A total of 5,000 medical pot patients are estimated to be using medicinal marijuana legally outside of California.

“Under current federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, meaning it has no currently accepted medical use in the United States,” said Dale Gieringer, who authored the survey.  “However, the growing numbers of medical marijuana patients and physicians suggest this classification is obsolete.” 

Over 1,500 California doctors have recommended marijuana to a patient, the survey found.

Currently, medical marijuana users represent only one percent of the state’s total marijuana using population, Gieringer said.  A previous nationwide survey of Canadians by Health Canada found that more than four percent of the population over age 15 uses marijuana therapeutically. 

For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858 or Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751.  The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics is available online at: http://www.acmed.org/english/home.htm