• Randy Shaffer

Headed To An Ohio Dispensary? Here's What To Expect



Go Time!

After several frustrating delays, and dozens of legal hurdles, the Ohio medical marijuana industry has finally arrived! It has felt like an age since former Governor John Kasich signed Ohio HB 523 into law back in the fall of 2016, but since that times dozens of companies and thousands of employees spread all across the Buckeye State have been working day and night to bring this industry to Ohio.


And finally ...at last ... the time has come.


Now that dispensaries are open, many patients have been asking us about what is the experience like? Though it may vary from place to place, what follows is a detailed breakdown of what to expect when you visit an Ohio medical marijuana dispensary for the first time.


Before we begin, if you don't know where dispensaries will be located, head over here and find the dispensary nearest you. Search their info and try to call before going to ensure the dispensary is currently open for business.


A Word of Warning

Just a friendly reminder. It is VERY cold during Ohio winters, especially up in the Cleveland/Akron/Toledo area, and many dispensaries do not have the ability to house hundreds of patients. As a result, people will be told to stand in lines outside, or in tents. There is limited food, but generally there are refreshments and portable toilets, provided indoor restrooms are not available. There may also be complimentary valet parking.


Patients who suffer greater during the winter months may want to wait until lines are shorter, or call the dispensaries to see if you can wait inside or what the wait times are like. Frigid winter conditions could lead to serious health issues, like arthritis flareups, fatigue or hypothermia. Proceed with caution. If you have a caregiver, we recommend sending them for the first few trips, until the lines wear down a little, or spring arrives.


As stated, there are long lines right now. Wait times can run, at best, about 1-2 hours. But many dispensaries were reporting longer wait times in excess of 4-8 hours, depending on the location. There are a few reasons for the delays. They are not related to supply shortage, but small kinks that erupt in the system throughout the day.


If you've ever bought a smartphone on the day of its release, you may be familiar with the sort of chaos that comes with new products being sold for the first time. Systems crash. Lines are long. Tempers can be flared. The same goes for dispensaries. When I visited a dispensary on Wednesday, there was trouble with the computers, with IDs, signing patients in, checking their paperwork, registers crashing -- you name it. This resulted in delays that lasted several hours, and many patients were even sent away.


While these delays, and other problems are understandably frustrating for patients, just remember that each moment is a piece of history. If you visit a dispensary soon, you will be able to tell your friends, children or grandchildren about your unique experiences from the first days that Ohio sold legal marijuana. That story could last generations.



Dispensaries, A Walkthrough

OK, so now that you've been warned about the long lines, what should you expect from your visit to a dispensary? First, you'll need to know what to bring:


  1. Your Ohio medical marijuana card. This card is issued to you by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Once you've registered, you can print your card right from their website. Just bring that card with you. It is used to check you in, register the medicine you use, and check you out. Before you go: be sure to check that your Ohio Marijuana Card doctor has filed your letter of recommendation. If that has not yet happened, give our offices a call at 1-866-457-5559 and let our support staff know so they can correct that error.

  2. Your license or state ID. Whichever you used to get your medical marijuana card. The dispensary will scan this ID several times and check it with your MMJ registration online.

  3. Cash or ATM card. There are generally ATMs in dispensaries, but to expedite the process, simply bring some cash.

  4. Time. The lines will be long, so be prepared. Eat a meal before you go. Bring something to drink. Dress comfortably. Bring a snack, your phone, or even some games. Or get to know your fellow medical marijuana patients. Your time is valuable, so find a good use of it while you wait.

  5. A Pen or Pencil. Just in case.


The dispensary experience is meant to be a pleasant one, so anyone with concerns about what the experience will be like need not worry. If you have visited our doctors, you know that Ohio Marijuana Card has carefully cultivated a relaxing, holistic experience for our patients. That same experience is replicated at the dispensaries.


The floor room at The Botanist in Canton

When you arrive, you will be given an intake form and placed in a line, or given a number. Fill out the form and wait. One by one, patients will be asked to sign in. You will turn in your intake form and your ID and Ohio medical marijuana card will scanned in. After this process, you will be given some informational materials and a bud menu, with the day's options listed like this:


A sample of The Botanist's daily dry flower menu.

Inside the Dispensary Showroom

After waiting for a moment longer, you will be invited into the showroom, where you will meet with a patient consultant (aka budtender). This consultant will look over your intake form and ask if you have any questions.


If you are unfamiliar with cannabis and cannabis products, this will be the time to ask any relevant questions you may have. Don't hold back. Ask any question that comes to mind. The patient consultant will guide you through the various strains and make recommendations based on your ailments and needs. You are allowed to select any strains you want. You can mix and match as well, so you can find which strain works right for you.


2 Fences strain from Wellspring Fields. 2.83 grams (Ohio tenth) in the palm of my hand. This amount should last 1-5 days, depending on frequency of usage.

* NOTE: Current prices range between $40-60 for 2.83 grams (the Ohio Tenth). This is considered a daily dose by the State of Ohio. You are not limited to a daily supply and can buy up to a 90-day supply in one visit. Prices are subject to change, and may drop dramatically as more cultivators hit the market and competition emerges.


At current, there are no edibles, oils or the like. Only dry flower. Eventually, as processors are up and running, you should begin seeing more processed cannabis products, like oils and vape pens. Dry flower will continue to be sold. Any rumors about dry flower not being sold are just that ... rumors, and are not true. You can read about it here.


Selecting Your Cannabis

Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot see or smell the cannabis you are going to buy. This rule (and many others, like the Ohio Tenth and vaporizing) may change at some point in the future as Ohio works out all the kinks of their newly implemented system. That may take time, though, so please be aware.



Once you have selected your strains, you will be given a ticket while the dispensary prepares your cannabis. After this, you simply pay for your Ohio medical marijuana and head on your way! You can also purchase vaporizers and other Ohio-safe vaping products, though oil cartridges are not yet available. Dry flower vaporizers and grinders are available for sale.


And that's it! When running smoothly, the process should take between 1-2 hours. During the initial launch, the wait time will be much longer. There's so much more arriving in the coming months, including dozens of new cultivators and new dispensaries. This is truly a historic time for Ohioans, both medical marijuana patients and advocates. And there are more historic days ahead. Frankly ... we can't wait!

If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.


Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.


Also, be sure to check out our latest episode of Ohio Marijuana Pod!