Interest in medical cannabis use surpasses Missouri estimates

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Data has revealed that more people are interested in Missouri’s medical cannabis program than analysts previously anticipated. As of July 4, 2019, almost 22,000 medical cannabis cards were issued among patients statewide; initially reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A group of analysts and researchers at the University of Missouri’s Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center wrongly assumed that the patient count would struggle to meet the existing amount by 2021.

“We have always predicted that the numbers would be far larger than the MU Economics study predicted,” said the leader of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association, Dan Viet.

Grandview Research analysts predict that Missouri’s medical cannabis market will be worth US$31.1 million by 2020, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22 percent between 2020 and 2026.

Licenses for Missouri’s medical cannabis dispensaries will be awarded next year

The commercialization of medical cannabis in Missouri will commence next year; two years after the approval of a voter referendum that took place in 2018. The voter-approved referendum resulted in Missouri’s medical cannabis law becoming a constitutional amendment.

“In the professional judgment of a physician,” patients who suffer from a range of qualifying conditions – including cancer, epilepsy and HIV – can complete an application for a state-issued medical cannabis card. A licensed doctor must approve the individual who wishes to be certified. In cases whereby someone does not have one of the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Missouri, a doctor’s assessment could still gain their approval; should the doctor feel that the individual would benefit from medical cannabis as a treatment.

Missouri’s medical cannabis dispensary license-awarding process is set to commence in January 2020 and so, card holders won’t be able to start purchasing their medicine until springtime.

In total, 2,163 people – from 700 different groups – applied for cannabis business applications in Missouri. Unfortunately, not everybody will be able to participate in the state’s budding medical cannabis market. No more than 60 licenses will be issued for cannabis cultivation and for cannabis-infused product manufacturers, the limit is 86. In regards to the number of dispensaries that will be allowed to open in Missouri’s medical cannabis market, just 192 will be on the receiving end of a license.

122,000 patients expected to use medical cannabis in Missouri by the end of 2022

Within the next three years, as many as 122,000 medical cannabis patients may have enrolled in the state’s patient program. This is according to estimates from the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, which pegs the end of 2022 as a milestone mark for enrollment.

Jack Cardetti – a spokesman for the Agency – says that these estimates were drawn up after analyzing application data in other cannabis-friendly states. One of the states focused on was Colorado, where 2-3 percent of residents obtained cards following the plant’s approval for medical use in 2000.

Based on the findings of the University of Missouri’s cannabis study, demand will not be sufficient to keep the 60 licensed cannabis farms busy during the program’s initial three years of rolling out. On the other hand, there will be no shortage of supply, thus ensuring that the market is ready for any unexpected growth it may receive.

“We think that’s good for patients, and we think that’s good for the industry,” Cardetti said.