(The Center Square) – Missourians have purchased more than $91.36 million in medical marijuana since it became legal last October with $200 million in total sales within reach by year’s end.
According to the state’s Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS), Missouri’s $21.03 million in medical cannabis sales in July was 22.16% more than June’s sales and a dramatic increase over the $8.82 million in April sales.
Missourians legalized medical marijuana in 2018 when more than 66% of voters approved Amendment 2.
Under the program, launched in October, patients who have approval from physicians can receive identification cards to allow them and registered caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants and purchase at least 4 ounces of cannabis from dispensaries monthly.
Missouri’s program allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition and imposes an additional 4% sales tax on cannabis sales with revenues earmarked for veterans’ services. A straight reckoning of $91.36 million in sales taxed at 4% means $3.64 million for veterans services.
According to DHSS, through July 21, 166,333 Missourians have filed applications for medical marijuana ID cards with more than 135,000 granted – including 10,967 in July. Only April’s 13,185 applications topped July’s monthly enrollment. The number of granted ID cards only topped 100,000 in May.
DHSS reports it has received 5,544 caregivers applications, 29,870 patient cultivator applications and 3,161 caregiver cultivator applications.
The number of licensed/certified medical marijuana facilities that cultivate, manufacture, test, transport and dispense medical marijuana is 379, including 135 dispensaries, 36 infused product manufacturers and 26 marijuana cultivation operations, according to DHSS.
Between July 2 and Aug. 6, DHSS approved 15 new production and retail licenses including three cultivation licenses, three manufacturing licenses and nine dispensary licenses.
It was not until March that monthly medical marijuana sales broke the $10 million mark. Since March, DHSS has recorded $80 million in sales.
After sales slumped to $8.82 million in April, the medical marijuana market has dramatically rebounded. May sales increased 43% over April; June’s sales topped May by 5%; and July’s receipts topped June’s by more than 22%.
The state will almost certainly break the $100 million mark in cumulative sales in August – if it has not already done so – and could potentially break the $200 million threshold by Dec. 31.
The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association (MoCannTrade), which represents 300 Missouri marijuana businesses that employ more than 4,000, said the growing number of patients and dispensaries is driving prices down and predicted sales will continue to increase in the coming months.
Nearly 40 newly-approved cultivators, 50 manufacturing facilities and more than 50 dispensaries have been approved but not yet opened their doors, it notes.
“Missouri is one of the only medical cannabis states where patients don’t have to drive long distances to access medicine,” MoCannTrade Executive Director Andrew Mullins said. “As a result of this tremendous patient access, our industry is seeing record sales and a diverse line of products, with Missouri marijuana companies creating thousands of new jobs and investing millions in their local communities.”
The fly in the ointment is Gov. Mike Parson’s veto of Senate Bill 226, a massive omnibus bill that included a provision to allow marijuana industry operators claim expenses on state income tax filings. Under federal law, marijuana remains outlawed. Therefore, marijuana businesses cannot deduct expenses from federal tax returns.
Parson’s veto had nothing to do with the medical marijuana provision in the bill, which would have allowed business owners forced to shut down by pandemic restrictions to claim a property tax refund.