Medical cannabis dispensaries in Ohio officially sold the first legal plant medicine this week. According to a report from Ohio 10 TV, four dispensaries were open for the first day of sales. This is good news for patients in need of cannabis medicine, but the state’s program is definitely not without its fair share of complications.
The state government has issued over 56 licenses to dispensaries, but unfortunately, only four of those were open this week – two in Wintersville, one in Canton, and one in Sandusky. A dispensary in the Cleveland area also expects to open within the next few days, according to Ohio 10 TV.
And only cannabis growers are currently licensed and certified to operate. Processing and manufacturing facilities for cannabis will still have to wait longer to be licensed, which is naturally causing some challenges. The medical program in Ohio currently allows for physicians to recommend patients use medical cannabis if they have one of 21 qualifying conditions. At this time, only cannabis flowers are being sold. Edibles, vape pens and tinctures will be available for purchase once the processing centers are open and operating.
As we are seeing with other legal states, the prices of the first legal cannabis being sold in Ohio are sky-high. An ounce of cannabis in Ohio medical cannabis dispensaries costs an astronomical $500. This, of course, isn’t including what it costs to see a doctor for a recommendation, and any costs for a medical card itself. This is a shame, because such high costs encourage the black market to flourish.
In addition to the high costs of the product itself, the medical cannabis program in Ohio has been delayed several times. Cannabis sales were initially slated to being last September, but regulators say that the quality of license applicants was lacking. Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, a cannabis legalization advocate, made a public statement criticizing the regulatory officials in the state for delaying sales and making patients wait for the cannabis medicine they need. He says that the number of dispensaries and processor licenses needs to continue to grow, creating “An opportunity for the new governor to do right by people who are suffering,” he said.
Yuko went on to urge Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to prioritize the growth of the medical cannabis program in the state. At any rate, at least some Ohio patients are finally given access to the medicine that they need and have been waiting for, and hopefully the program continues to expand successfully.