The first of Missouri’s long-awaited medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be open for at least another three months. But as local politicians and pot regulators continue to work through delays, Show-Me State residents have wasted no time making sure they are legally squared away when pot shop doors do finally open.
According to a new report from the Associated Press, new statistics from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) indicated that more than 35,000 residents have already been approved as medical marijuana patients. Among the tens of thousands of new patients, MDHSS director Lyndall Fraker said that the most common qualifying condition was psychological disorders, followed closely by “chronic medical ailments.”
“It’s exciting because we’ve seen the impact it means for patients,” Josh Mitchem, CEO of newly licensed Missouri cannabis manufacturer Clovr, told the AP. “We know the naysayers say it doesn’t cure anything, but it improves patients’ quality of life.”
Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana with two-thirds support in November 2018, but in the year-plus since the law was ratified, local authorities have dragged their feet bringing legal weed sales to fruition. Now, after licensing 60 growers, 86 manufacturers, and 192 dispensaries, a medical marijuana market is finally expected to emerge this summer.
But while early estimates expect the state to bring in some $100 million in pot sales by 2025, the number of patients already registered for the program has trounced previous predictions, suggesting that those sales predictions might be low.
Of course, we’ll only know how strong Missouri’s MMJ market actually is once it opens for business. But seeing as there are already tens of thousands of patients, and a dearth of licensed growers and dispensaries, don’t be surprised to see initial product shortages, high prices, and long lines when pot shops eventually open in the state.
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