Medical marijuana in Arizona generated $280 million in sales, $30 million in tax revenue
Medical marijuana is a growing industry across the country, and that's especially true here in Arizona.
The latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services show there are now more card holders than ever before, and they are also using more cannabis than ever before.
All of it comes on the heels of an election that saw voters narrowly reject an effort to legalize recreational use of pot in our state.
"I think a lot of people were waiting to see if it's going to pass. It's a lot easier for 'hey I'm going to try cannabis for whatever medical conditions," said Lilach Mazor Power of Giving Tree Wellness.
Mazor Power runs the Giving Tree Wellness Center in both Phoenix and Mesa. She says as soon as people realized Prop 205 wasn't going to pass, her phones immediately began ringing.
"We saw it that day after how many calls our front desk at both locations got. "How do I get a card, where can I go, can you send me details?" said Mazor Power.
That interest helped fuel marijuana profits in December to their highest levels all year.
In fact, 29 tons of cannabis was consumed in Arizona in 2016, which is more than double the amount from the previous year.
Also moving higher was the number of card holders, with more than 114,000 people now legally allowed to use cannabis in Arizona.
All of that green is translating to more green for the state.
Nearly $280 million was generated from the sale of medicinal pot with about $30 million of it translated into tax revenue for Arizona programs.
Some experts have predicted that if Arizona joins other states in legalizing recreational marijuana use, those tax numbers could triple.
Several groups are working to put the issue back on the ballot in either 2018 or 2020.
CORRECTION: Prop 205 would've made it legal to consume marijuana recreational for anyone over the age of 21, not 18.