The number of patients registered to Montana’s medical marijuana program has nearly doubled since January.
There were 17,819 people enrolled in the program as of July, according to data from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
That’s up from 9,666 in January and as few as 7,558 in November 2016, when voters approved a ballot initiative that served as the basis for the current program.
The number of patients fell by more than 6,000 in 2016, from its high in March of that year to November. The most precipitous decline came in the fall, when a more restrictive law forced medical marijuana providers to drop all but three patients.
The program has seen ups and downs. More than 30,000 were registered in the previous program in June 2011, just as state legislators passed a restrictive bill intended to curb abuses of the system.
Now the program appears to be on another upswing with an average of about 1,300 new cardholders signed up each month so far