Since the state’s medical marijuana program launched in October 2020, more than 138,000 Missourian residents – including 1,000 to 3,000 residents of Franklin County – have received state-issued medical marijuana cards.
Although a breakdown of the age and medical condition of patients in need of medical marijuana is not yet available for this year, it is included in a report from the Department of Health and Seniors’ Services, the Missouri’s medical marijuana program, with dates from December 2019 through December outlined. 2020 when 68,510 cards were issued.
According to the report, 24.7 percent of Missourians who received medical marijuana cards were in their thirties; 20.23 percent were in their 40s; 17.97 percent were in their 50s; 16.93 percent were in their 60s; and 4.72 percent were over 70 years old.
Missourians between the ages of 18 and 29 make up 15.13 percent of all cardholders, and those under 17 make up less than 1 percent of all cardholders.
Age breakdown of Franklin County’s cardholders was not available.
These numbers come as no surprise to Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association.
“That is really what our members are seeing today,” Cardetti said. “Many of these patients really have illnesses that they have been treating with prescription drugs for years and are now talking to doctors about whether they are on medical marijuana and hopefully avoid some side effects.”
To purchase medical marijuana, patients must have a state-issued license for which Missouri residents qualify if they meet any of the approved conditions and have received certification from a licensed medical practitioner. These conditions include Crohn’s disease, migraines, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, and glaucoma.
According to the state Department of Health report, 28 percent of all medical cannabis users in the state last year used it to combat chronic illness; 17 percent for psychiatric disorders, 6 percent for migraines and 3 percent for incurable diseases. Another 30 percent consumed cannabis because of physical and psychological addiction.
Cardetti said that many patients, especially in the undefined chronic disease category, had previously taken prescription opioids, which can cause side effects such as nausea, slow heart rate, drowsiness, unconsciousness, constipation, and shallow breathing, and which can be addictive in many patients. according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. But now, he said, these patients are turning to medical marijuana to avoid some of these side effects.
“As we sit here today, medical marijuana is bringing relief to 140,000 Missourian residents,” Cardetti said. “We also have 5,000 workers in the industry.”
With several pharmacies open, Franklin County has one of the highest concentrations of medical marijuana cardholders in the state. There are pharmacies in Washington and St. Clair. A third pharmacy in the Pacific has not yet been finally approved.
A licensed manufacturing facility, Midwest Roots, has been granted state permission to operate at its location on Old Highway 100.
The distribution of medical marijuana cardholders in the adjacent counties in Warren County ranged from 501 to 1,000 residents; Gasconade County, fewer than 250 residents; Crawford County, between 251 and 500 residents; Washington County, fewer than 250 residents; Jefferson County, between 1,000 and 3,000 residents; St. Louis County, between 5,000 and 9,000 residents; City of St. Louis, between 1,000 and 3,000 residents; and St. Charles Counties, between 3,000 and 5,000 residents.
These figures are as of December 5, 2020, the latest available data from the state.
Medical marijuana, legalized in Missouri in 2018 when voters passed a referendum in favor of legalization, was first sold in the state in October 2020.