It looks like supporters of medical marijuana were right. There appears to be a lot of pent up demand from patients who want weed.
Patients purchased 1,676 ounces in September, as the state’s second dispensary opened in Brockton. That’s a big jump from the 1,488 ounces sold in the slightly more than two months prior, when only one dispensary, in Salem, was cleared to sell medical marijuana in the state.
In Good Health, the Brockton store, was so busy it closed for several days toward the end of September. A spokesman said demand exceeded supply and the dispensary ran low because there were delays at one of the labs that tests medical marijuana before it is cleared for sale.
A third dispensary, in Northampton, opened on Sept. 28, likely contributing a bit to last month’s total.
A fourth dispensary, in Ayer, is expected to open soon. Eleven more have provisional certificates, and the state has begun processing 152 new applications.
The sales information was released for the first time Thursday, on a dashboard created by the state Department of Public Health.
The dashboard shows a steady rise in the number of patients registering to use marijuana to treat a medical condition, and a significant increase in the number of caregivers seeking permission to help a patient.
Nichole Snow, director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, believes the number of patients registered is just a fraction of the interest. She says patients are asking doctors for a certificate and being told the doctor isn’t comfortable signing the paper, or that the doctor has been told he or she can’t by the hospital where they work.
Some patients are also unable to get to one of the three dispensaries opened so far, Snow says, and others are worried about trying a drug that is illegal by federal law.
“There is some fear from patients that they might get in trouble through work or any profession connections,” Snow said. “So we think people are holding off until medical marijuana becomes readily available in their area [from a dispensary owner they trust.]”