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U.S. legal medical marijuana patients 2018, by state

The number of legal medical marijuana patients in the U.S. in May 2018 was highest in the State of California. California had approximately 916 thousand medical marijuana patients at that time. In that same year, California and Maine had the highest percentages of medical marijuana patients. At this time the use of medical marijuana is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Medical marijuana

There may be many positive effects of the medical marijuana industry including to patient health and to the economy. The projected combined recreational and medical marijuana market in the U.S. is expected to top 37 billion U.S. dollars in coming years. In a recent study among medical cannabis patients, the most commonly cited benefits of the drug were pain reduction and sleep. There are currently numerous research projects underway in the U.S. to determine the medical benefits and therapeutic uses of marijuana products as well as the potential impact of marijuana legalization on the U.S. economy.

Public opinion

Public opinion on the effects of marijuana and its ability to be used in patient care vary. However, it is clear that many U.S. adults support the legalization of marijuana in some form. A recent study indicated that the support for marijuana legalization has been increasing in recent history. Another study has shown that an overwhelming majority of participants felt that cannabis has valid medical uses. Despite current efforts at legalization and the research underway, marijuana – for any use – is considered illegal under federal U.S. law.

Number of legal medical marijuana patients in the U.S. as of May 2018, by state

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Release date

May 2018


United States

Survey time period

as of May 17, 2018

Supplementary notes

No data available for: North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia.
* Arkansas has started issuing medical marijuana registry ID cards, but marijuana is not yet available in the state.
** California had 5,848 registered patients in Fiscal Year 2017/2018, but registration is voluntary and most patients are not registered. We made an estimate using the per capita number of patients in Arizona because of geographical proximity. The Marijuana Policy Project's (MPP) Feb. 2018 estimate for California, 1,256,550, used Maine's per capita number of patients.
*** In presenting the number of medical marijuana registration cards printed, Maine's medical marijuana program website states, "This number is not an accurate reflection of the number of patients as it contains all certifications printed, including misprints, reissue of lost certifications and other anomalies."
**** Washington listed 32,123 recognition cards created as of May 16, 2018, but registration isn't required to be a medical marijuana patient except for patients under 18. As a result, we created an estimate based on the per capita patient numbers in Oregon.

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Statistics on "Medical marijuana in the U.S."

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