Good news, everyone! You’ll soon have more shopping options when it comes time to purchase medical marijuana to treat your qualifying conditions.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has approved 70 new dispensary licenses around the state, more than doubling the medical marijuana retail outlets here. But even if you’re perfectly satisfied with the dispensary where you currently purchase your medicine, this is indeed good news for everyone. First, this news shows that the administrators of Ohio’s program are making an effort to serve the needs of the state’s cannabis patients. That’s a welcome change after the unfair stigma marijuana has endured for more than a century.
But the second and bigger reason why this is such good news is that more dispensaries mean more competition, which could mean lower prices across the Buckeye State.
New Ohio Medical Marijuana Licenses Needed to Meet Unexpectedly High Patient Demand
According to Cleveland.com, the Board of Pharmacy reviewed the ratio of dispensaries to patients last year, and determined that new licenses would have to be issued to meet patient needs.
According to Cleveland.com, the board staff found that the number of Ohio Marijuana Cardholders has exceeded initial projections. Justin Sheridan, the board’s director of medical marijuana operations, told the website that “(Ohio’s) Dispensaries on a per capita basis, when compared to other medical marijuana programs, indicated a need to increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Ohio currently has 58 licensed dispensaries and almost 138,000 registered medical marijuana patients with a currently active recommendation from a physician. That means there are almost 4,500 active patients per each of the state’s 31 dispensary districts. The newspaper reports that the board hopes the expanded licenses will bring the ratio down to 1,200 registered patients per district.
Covid Delayed Board’s Action on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
The board first became aware of the need for more dispensaries in late 2020, when it got the results of a July 2020 survey of medical marijuana patients on their satisfaction with the program. What they learned was that patients were greatly inconvenienced by the small number of retail outlets for buying their medication.
A minority of respondents, some 38%, said that they traveled less than 10 miles to purchase their medications. Most patients, 43%, had to travel between 10 and 30 miles, and about 5% had to travel more than 60 miles. Some patients reported they often had to bypass more conveniently located dispensaries just to find the specific medical marijuana products they needed.
Unfortunately, before the board could take steps towards expanding licensing at the time, a global pandemic derailed the board’s work. Ali Simon, a board spokeswoman, told the Enquirer in October of 2020 that “With COVID that has been a setback to our timeline, but we are working to gather as much information to determine the needs of the program moving forward.”
Lack of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Hurts Some Parts of Ohio More than Others
The board’s review of dispensaries also showed that some Ohioans were disproportionately inconvenienced when compared to others.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Enquirer reported that the board’s survey showed that program participation skewed towards the state’s most populous counties, and that there were areas in western Ohio that had no dispensaries at all.
As a result of the expanded licensing, the newspaper reports that smaller cities like Lima, Athens and Piqua have received licenses, and three districts in western Ohio that did not have any dispensaries will each have at least one.
New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Could Mean Lower Prices
But beyond being a boon to patients in less populated areas, expanding the number of dispensaries in Ohio could mean lower prices for all medical marijuana patients.
It’s no secret that Ohio’s high medical marijuana prices have deterred some patients from participating in the program. As one patient wrote in response to the Board of Pharmacy’s 2020 survey, “It got to the point I didn’t even renew my card and went back to my family doctor and pain management just because my medical (insurance) will pay for it. This is supposed to be medical, not recreational.”
But increased competition from new dispensaries could mean lower prices. That in turn could encourage more patient participation in the program, which in turn could again lower prices.
Consider, for example, the case of Minnesota. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a highly restrictive medical marijuana program, which resulted in low patient participation. When the state expanded its program to allow the sale of cannabis flower in 2021, it was expected that this more affordable medication option would increase patient participation, and thus drive down costs for all medical marijuana products.
“Minnesota’s been very demand-limited, very few patients per capita, and that change is going to allow operators to scale up and drive down pricing,” one medical marijuana executive told KARE, Minneapolis’ NBC affiliate, at the time.
And indeed, less than a year later, Minnesotans are enjoying lower prices at their medical marijuana dispensaries.
New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to be More Evenly Distributed Around Ohio
According to the Enquirer, the newly allocated licenses will mean new dispensaries across the state, not just in the more populated locales. The newspaper reports that among the newly licensed dispensaries, one-third will be located in Franklin, Hamilton, and Cuyahoga counties, nine will be in Columbus, and eight in Cincinnati. In addition to the aforementioned cities of Lima, Athens, and Piqua, other communities welcoming new dispensaries include Coshocton, Columbus, Tiffin, Delphos, and Dayton.
The Enquirer has created a map showing new dispensary locations.
There has Never been a Better Time to Get a Ohio Marijuana Card
An increase in retail outlets should lead to a decrease in price, meaning things are about to get even better for the thousands of Buckeye State residents who have an Ohio Marijuana Card. Are you one of them?
If you aren’t, why wait any longer to find the relief and benefits that only cannabis can offer? There has never been a better time to get your Ohio Marijuana Card, and all the past times were pretty darn good already!
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our caring, knowledgeable doctors. You and your new doctor will discuss your conditions and your eligibility for an Ohio Marijuana Card. If you qualify, we’ll do all of the hard work of registering with the state for you, meaning all you have to do is enjoy your newfound relief and wellbeing!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Here at Ohio Marijuana Card, our goal is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (866) 457-5559, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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