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Missouri didn’t start medical cannabis sales until October 16, 2020, but a report released earlier this month revealed how well authorized patients were lined up to access it.

The Missouri Department of Health and Aging Services (DHSS) issued 56,448 new patient licenses and 12,062 renewed patient licenses between December 6, 2019 and December 5, 2020, according to the second. Annual Report of the Missouri Medical Marijuana Regulatory Program.

DHSS approved more than 23,000 patients and caregivers in the 2019 program year, before commercial sales began, about 33% of whom also approved home cultivation. That year, Missouri home growers numbered 7,276 patients and 298 caregivers.

But with the state first sales of medical cannabis At the launch last October, the number of approved patients increased by approximately 200% in 2020. In addition, the number of approved caregivers increased from 563 to 2,146 and home growers increased from 7,574 to 19,831 .

DHSS is required by law to report annually to the Governor on the effective discharge of his responsibilities.

“It is an honor to be a part of the great success of this new medical industry in Missouri,” said Lyndall Fraker, director of the medical cannabis section at DHSS, in a statement. Release August 19, date of publication of the second annual report.

“I continue to be amazed at how hard our team is working to help our facilities deliver this alternative medicine to the state’s rapidly growing patient base,” he said. “Our goal is to provide a safe, well-regulated, patient-focused program unmatched in our great country. Our success is unmistakable proof that we have achieved this goal in a timely manner, fulfilling all of our constitutional obligations as decided by the citizens of the great state of Missouri. ”

Sixty-five percent of Missouri voters cast ballots Amendment 2 legalize medical cannabis in the November 2018 election. A month later, it was added to the Missouri Constitution, giving DHSS the authority and responsibility to create a well-regulated program to ensure availability and access in safe to medical cannabis.

Including Missouri, 21 states have implemented medical cannabis laws since 2005, according to the DHSS. While the national average for implementation is 29 months, Missouri implemented its program in just over 23 months. Only five states implemented programs faster: Pennsylvania (22), New York (18), Utah (16), Minnesota (13) and Oklahoma (4), according to DHSS.

The fastest state in the country to implement an effective medical cannabis program, Oklahoma had about 376,000 registered patients at the start of the month. The voters there approved State question 788 on legalizing medical cannabis on June 26, 2018.

Missouri, by comparison, had 69,387 registered patients as of December 2020. Of those patients, the most common qualifying medical condition listed was physical or psychological dependence on another drug, with 20,988 people checking this box.

During this time, 17,492 patients with undefined chronic diseases were the second most common. Psychiatric disorders accounted for 11,914 patients. Migraines accounted for 3,843 patients. And those with terminal illnesses, such as cancer, accounted for 2,304 of eligible patients.

Those aged 30 to 39 accounted for 24.7% of patients, while 40 to 49 (20.2%), 50 to 59 (18%), 60 to 69 (16.9%), 18 to 29 years (15.1%) and those 70 and over (4.7%) followed suit. Those 17 and under represented 0.3% of patients.

As of December 2019, DHSS has issued licenses to all types of medical cannabis facilities after reviewing over 2,000 applications. As of December 2020, 192 dispensary licenses have been issued, along with licenses for 86 manufacturing facilities and 60 growing facilities. However, as of December 2020, only 17 dispensaries, one manufacturer, and 10 grow facilities had completed an inception inspection of DHSS and received final approval to operate.

The 192 dispensary licenses licensed in Missouri represent approximately 3.1 dispensaries per 100,000 people in the state, which is third after Oklahoma (51.8 dispensaries per 100,000) and New Mexico (5, 2 dispensaries per 100,000) among the 21 states that have implemented programs since 2005, according to DHSS data compiled from August 2020. Oklahoma, which had as many as 2,325 dispensaries at the start of the month, and New Mexico have unlimited licensing systems.

During the current and upcoming program years, DHSS will continue to monitor the progress of the facilities and their ability to meet patient needs, according to the press release.

“We will continue to seek public engagement and transparency, which have always been a key element in the success of this program, and we will continue to develop consistent regulation, enforcement and education to ensure that it succeeds in delivering safe and secure access to medical marijuana for eligible applicants. Missouri patients, ”Fraker said.

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