Tens of thousands of patients have registered for medical marijuana access in Missouri. But there are few dispensaries open, and those that are reportedly experiencing supply issues.
Legal sales of medical marijuana in Missouri kicked off in October this year. The state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) expected most of the 192 dispensaries licensed to be opened by the end of this year, but as at early December only 17 were.
According to St. Louis Public Radio, another challenge for patients and dispensaries alike is the DHSS has approved around 67,000 patient/caregiver applications and supply has become a problem. This isn’t uncommon – other states have experienced similar issues when their programs launched.
Spokesperson for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association seems confident the issues will be ironed out soon.
“When someone walks into a dispensary right now, they’re mostly going to have flower to choose from,” he said. “But in the coming weeks and months, they’ll be able to have the full assortment — edibles, tinctures, vapors and all of those.”
There is another option for supply for Missouri medical cannabis patients. Home growing is permitted if a person has a patient cultivation identification card. This allows a patient to grow up to six plants and an additional $100 fee is associated with acquiring a card.
There have been other hiccups since sales commenced in Missouri, one in particular that could have had significant implications.
Just days after launch, DHSS announced it was investigating a complaint concerning a moldy medical marijuana product purchased at a state-licensed dispensary. Around a week later, the investigation concluded. The related product batch was retested, and DHSS found no evidence it presented a health and safety concern. It also noted that of the 200 patients who purchased this product alerted to the issue, no further reports of mold were received.
The speed at which authorities reacted to the incident was a good demonstration of the robustness of the state’s track and trace system.
Missouri getting to this stage has been quite challenging for authorities. Early this year, DHSS was hit with a barrage of complaints over how medical marijuana licences were issued, with reportedly hundreds of appeals filed. Thousands of applications were received by the August 2019 deadline for cultivation, dispensary, manufacturing and testing laboratory licenses.
Information on Missouri’s medical marijuana program can be found here.