It appears that medical marijuana in Missouri was wanted and needed more than some had anticipated. The state has already issued a total of 21,879 medical marijuana ID cards since they started on July 4th of this year. Researchers from the University of Missouri didn’t expect to see anywhere close to this number until 2021 – estimating that by then, the state might reach 22,500 registered patients. Now, according to an estimate provided by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, it appears that there could be more than 122,000 registered patients by the end of 2022.
“We have always predicted that the numbers would be far larger than the MU Economics study predicted,” said Dan Viets, who leads the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association.
Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, says that their estimate is based on trends in states like Colorado, where 2-3 percent of the population received medical marijuana cards after legalization. The study published by the University of Missouri’s Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center instead used data from 2015 that was compiled from a total of 19 different states that had legalized medical marijuana around that time.
“They made the mistake of assuming that all medical marijuana programs are equal,” Viets explained.
The original study determined that the state was preparing to produce far more medical marijuana than their population would need. However, that was based on estimates that expected far fewer people to sign up for access to medical marijuana. The state is expected to license a total of 60 commercial growers, 86 manufacturing and processing facilities, and 192 dispensaries.
Initially, it was assumed this would be more than was needed for the first three to five years – but now it seems like those who wrote the bill anticipated the current amount of participation. It was also intended to create more competition between businesses to keep prices affordable, while also ensuring that patients all over the state would have relatively easy access to a much-needed medicine.
Thousands of Missourians are now awaiting these business licenses to be awarded, which is expected to start in January. Right now, over 700 different groups have filed a total of 2,163 applications for a total of 338 licenses.
The most important thing is that thousands of patients should have legal access to medical marijuana by late spring 2020, only two short years after voters legalized it.