Cannabis sales in Missouri averaged about $1 million a day in March. The long-term effects of what’s called “medical marijuana” have some concerned, even while its benefits as a treatment for chronic illnesses are being established.
In Missouri, like other states that have legalized it, sales are outpacing the research.
Cumulative sales ae nearly $300 million since the first dispensary opened in mid-October 2020, and more than one-third of that revenue has been generated in the past four months. At that rate, annual program revenue likely will top $300 million for 2022.
Industry watchers attribute much of this recent growth to more competitive, patient-friendly pricing as more facilities continue to open, including $20 edibles and $20 eighth-ounces of cannabis flower found at dispensaries across the state. The increased sales also reflect the widespread access to medical marijuana for patients. With 188 dispensaries open to date and more than 200 slated to open, Missourians can count more signs at their street corners promoting the sale of “medical marijuana.”
“The state’s latest sales data is great news for Missouri’s medical cannabis license holders — and even better news for the more than 180,000 patients and caregivers who are benefitting from both greater product selection and more affordable prices as more new businesses continue to open,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association.
“Our regulatory team has continued to work closely with the state’s licensed facilities to get them up and running as quickly and safely as possible, and we are pleased that 188 dispensaries are now directly serving Missouri’s patients,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation.
Under Article IX of the state Constitution, Missouri residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma or 20 other qualifying conditions can purchase or cultivate medical cannabis with a physician’s certification. The law also provides physicians 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.
The medical establishment, as well as the National Institutes for Health, remain cautious about medical marijuana.
According to the NIH, an additional concern with “medical marijuana” is that little is known about the long-term impact of its use by people with health- and/or age-related vulnerabilities—such as older adults or people with cancer, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, or other neurodegenerative diseases. Further research will be needed to determine whether people whose health has been compromised by disease or its treatment (e.g., chemotherapy) are at greater risk for adverse health outcomes from marijuana use.
There’s now a push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Missouri.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice