JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.: Missouri’s medical cannabis program has passed a notable milestone, with more than 100,000 active patients and caregivers approved to use and purchase medical cannabis.
State officials confirmed the six-figure count on Tuesday after a weekly update by the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released one day earlier showed a running total just a few dozen shy of that mark.
The Missouri program’s continued growth comes just 22 months since enrollment began — and years ahead of initial estimates.
The enrollment boost comes as a similar surge of retail outlets across the state open their doors, and more producers receive state operating approval. To date, 141 medical cannabis businesses fall into that category, including 92 dispensaries serving patients and caregivers.
With Missouri planning to authorize a total of 192 dispensaries statewide, medical cannabis patients here will have greater access than in each of the other 19 states with similar programs, behind only Oklahoma.
By comparison, the state of Illinois —which with 12.67 million residents has a population more than double that of Missouri — has only 55 licensed, operating dispensaries. That’s less than one-third of Missouri’s eventual total for a program that began several years earlier.
“This patient enrollment milestone is testament to the strong public support —and pent-up demand — for safe, laboratory-tested medical cannabis in Missouri,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “And as more businesses come online seemingly every day now, we only expect that patient count to grow even more in the weeks and months ahead.”
Statewide sales continue an upward trajectory, with a record $3.3 million in sales
over the most recent seven-day period and a cumulative total of $38.45 million over the past four months. The record-setting week (which included the unofficial cannabis holiday of 4/20) marked a 21 percent boost from the previous week’s sales.
Missouri regulators have also issued nearly 3,000 agent identification cards to medical cannabis industry employees, fueling economic investment in the state by an industry that’s expected to generate nearly twice that many jobs, more than $800 million in direct spending and another $570 million in indirect spending.
Under Article IX of the state Constitution, Missouri residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and 20 other qualifying conditions can purchase or cultivate medical cannabis with a physician’s certification. The law also provides physicians with the discretion to certify patients who have other chronic and debilitating medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, and legally protects their right to have such conversations.
Medical cannabis sales in Missouri include an additional 4 percent sales tax dedicated to health
and care of military veterans.
MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) is an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents responsible for helping to implement a successful, safe, compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.
The membership-based association is directed by a board of diverse professionals experienced in medical marijuana, healthcare, law, pharmaceutical, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, public affairs and regulatory sectors.
To learn more about MoCannTrade please visit www.mocanntrade.org