The demand for permits to use medical marijuana throughout Missouri is greater than originally anticipated. So far the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services have given their approval to a total of 21,739 applications since the admissions process started back in June. DHSS has nearly 2,000 applications still to review and they are giving out permits at a rate of 1,000 every week. The state could start issuing licenses at the end of next month to medical marijuana businesses. The first retail sales are expected to begin in late spring or the beginning of summer. DHSS has received almost 2,300 applications from those wanting to become medical marijuana business owners. Economists at Mizzou projected that 19,000 patients and caregivers would enroll in the program by the end of this year. DHSS could issue over 26.000 permits by the end of next month. That will surpass the predicted 22,543 permits a study by the University Of State Department Of Economics predicted would be issued by the end of next year. Voters throughout the state voted to approve medical marijuana use for residents who have with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and a number of other qualifying conditions to buy medical marijuana only with a prescription and certification in November of last year.