Although Arizona hasn't (yet) legalized recreational cannabis, sales of medical marijuana are growing robustly in the state. According to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, dispensaries there sold 165,722 pounds of medical pot in 2019, a nearly 36% increase over 2018's tally.

Estimates are that total sales for 2019 came in at around $580 million.

Medical professional holding cannabis products.

Image source: Getty Images

The increase was due partially to a rise in the number of patients qualifying to purchase marijuana. The Department said that 18% more individuals were registered with the Arizona medical cannabis program in 2019, for a total of almost 220,000. 

According to the Department's numbers, the overwhelming majority of the patients -- almost 90% -- were taking medical cannabis for chronic pain. Among individual conditions, cancer came in a far distant second, at less than 2%. People with two or more conditions accounted for about 4.7% of the overall patient base.

Medical marijuana in Arizona was made legal in a statewide ballot measure in 2010. Currently, grassroots efforts are underway to get one permitting recreational use on the ballot for the 2020 election.

As is the case in other states that have legal marijuana markets, the Arizona cannabis sector is relatively small and scattered. One publicly traded marijuana company that has a presence in the state is Cresco Labs (CRLBF -4.76%), via the Reef dispensary brand it purchased in September from privately held Tryke. Currently, Cresco Labs operates two Reef stores, one in Phoenix and one in the nearby town of Queen Creek.

Cresco Labs shares were down slightly in late-afternoon trading Thursday.