Missouri made history recently by approving thousands more cannabis patients for its medical cannabis program than previously predicted during the first six months of the program.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, researchers in a state-commissioned study were surprised when patient numbers for the first six months already outpaced projected numbers for 2020, and the numbers are still rising.
Back in April, the study predicted that there would be 19,000 patients by the end of 2020, 22,500 by 2021 and 26,000 in 2022. However, this is a vast underestimate, as confirmed by the current projections.
“We have always predicted that the numbers would be far larger than the MU Economics study predicted,” said Dan Viets, chairman of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association. “They made the mistake of assuming that all medical marijuana programs are equal.”
According to new estimates, Missouri could have at least 122,000 medical cannabis patients by the end of 2022, at least. These projections are based on other states that saw two and three percent increases each year of licensed cannabis patients as more and more people became licenses as patients.
The state claims that it is bound by the initial legalization vote in 2018 to license at least 60 commercial cannabis growers, 192 dispensaries and 86 facilities that manufacture cannabis-infused products total in Missouri. State officials are expected to begin awarding new licenses by January 2020. “The high level of interest from patients and facility applicants has presented unique challenges for our team as they have implemented the constitutional amendment which will make medical marijuana available to qualified patients in Missouri,” said Director Randall Williams of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.