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The number of medical cannabis patients in Georgia is less than half that of previously stated figures, the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed.
According to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the previously published figure of 50,000 patients has been grossly inflated due to a number of reporting errors, and is now thought to be around 14,000.
The DPH announced that it had found ‘anomalies’ on September 27, explaining that ‘patients with duplicate cards, patients who were counted as caregivers, expired cards that had not been renewed but remained in the system, and some patients who were deceased’ were all included in the original figure.
Medical providers are required to remove patients when they stop receiving care or pass away, a practice which was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, The Atlantic Journal-Constitution notes, there is no automated system to keep track of the patient or caregiver count.
The DHP is understood to have made similar data collection errors in its reporting of COVID-19 cases.
“It is disappointing to find out that the information the state has provided is inaccurate,” Botanical Sciences CEO Gary Long, head of one of the medical cannabis dispensaries in Georgia, told the publication.
“Our focus should be on how we move past this in a cohesive way that increases awareness of this industry in our state and the availability of these therapeutic products for patients in need.”