Since June 28, 2019, more than 21,000 Missourians have been approved to legally possess and consume marijuana as medicine, a number which already exceeds the projected number for the entire first year of the program.
A news release, at the present rate, more patients will have been approved by the end of this year than were projected to be approved by the end of 2021.
A study commissioned by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and compiled by the MU Department of Economics predicted that there would be 19,000 patients approved during the first year of the program. Patient numbers already exceed that number after only six months.
The study predicted 22,543 patients would be approved by the end of 2021. Approximately 1,000 new patients are being approved every week, so it is virtually certain Missouri will have more patients by the end of 2019 than were predicted for 2021.
Dan Viets (pictured), Missouri NORML Coordinator and President of New Approach Missouri, the group which drafted, placed on the ballot and campaigned for the passage of Amendment 2, which is now Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, says, “We always predicted that the numbers would be far larger than the MU Economics study predicted. They made the mistake of assuming that all medical marijuana programs are equal. In fact, they are not. Missouri has one of the best medical marijuana laws in the nation. It grants doctors the discretion to recommend cannabis for a wide variety of ailments and injuries.”
Nearly one-third of the patients approved to possess and consume cannabis also have been approved to grow their own medicine. More than 7,000 cultivation licenses have been issued. Both patients and their designated caregivers can cultivate cannabis under Article XIV.
Viets said, “It is very important that our law allows patients to cultivate for themselves. Many patients have a very limited income. Health insurance does not yet cover medical marijuana. The option to cultivate by and for patients provides a cost-effective alternative to purchasing cannabis through licensed retail dispensaries.”
Photo provided by Dan Viets.