While Missouri’s marijuana market thrives with the launch of adult use sales, the number of certified patients in the state continues a downward trend.
For the second month in a row, the number of new patient applications received by the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation was below 5,000.
Prior to February 2023, new patient applications had not dipped below 6,000 since September 2020.
For more than a year, Missouri’s regulators did not see fewer than 9,500 new patient applications, between March 2021 and October 2022.
In November, post-legalization of adult use marijuana in Missouri, the state saw its first significant dip in patient numbers with new applications falling from 9,589 to 7,243. Application numbers dipped again in December and January, falling below 7,000. But February marked another significant downturn, sliding from 6,612 to 4,388.
As new patient applications slow, Missouri’s total number of medical marijuana patients trends downward as well. Between November 2022 and March 2023, Missouri lost more than 15,000 patients – with the number of active patients falling from 205,897 to 190,856.
With the rise of adult use sales, many Missourians elected not to apply for a medical marijuana certification or chose not to renew their cards.
Now with a looming tax increase that will demonstrate a significant disparity between medical marijuana pricing and adult use pricing, Missouri could see the slipping patient numbers begin to slow.
Medical marijuana patients will maintain their 4% sales tax rate at dispensaries, while adult use consumers will begin seeing sales tax rates increase from 6% to 9 or even 12%.
For consumers, the cost efficacy of a 3-year license and certification versus paying a tripled tax rate could be the motivating factor that conserves Missouri’s spot as one of the top patient populations in the country.
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