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  • Jordan T. Smith

The Reasons Behind Expensive Medical Marijuana Pricing in Ohio

At Ohio Marijuana Card, we understand that most medical marijuana patients would rather just see lower prices at the dispensary than get an explanation about why prices are so high. But we also believe that having a background understanding of the structure behind medical marijuana pricing in Ohio can help patients feel empowered to find more affordable medical marijuana products.

When you have insights on what to be aware of when shopping, and an idea of the timing of when prices are coming down, you can make better decisions about which cannabis products to buy and when.

This post is the first in our series on medical marijuana pricing at Ohio dispensaries. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to help you understand how to get the best prices on cannabis products for sale in Ohio, and how to make the most of your medical marijuana purchases.

We’ll start at the beginning: The Why. Along with the licensing and regulatory stipulations increasing medical marijuana pricing, Federal laws also create unnecessary obstacles that can be difficult to overcome.

Federal Regulations That Sustain High Medical Marijuana Prices

Banks Could Potentially Be Punished For Doing Business With Marijuana-Related Companies

The fact is that simply finding a bank that will agree to open an account for marijuana-related businesses is an uphill climb. That means that the odds of finding a financial institution willing to offer financing to start a marijuana-related business are slim-to-none. These circumstances mean that the vast majority of businesses within the marijuana industry need to have their operating funds come out of their own pockets.

Insurance Companies Rarely Offer Coverage for Marijuana

Although businesses are capable of finding insurance companies willing to cover their losses, the cannabis plants themselves usually aren’t included in the coverage policy. An overwhelmingly sad example of this practice costing cultivators came as a result of the 2020 West Coast Wildfires. Tens of thousands of acres of cannabis plants burned right around the time of harvest, and many of the losses remain unrecovered.

Marijuana Business Expenses are Not Tax Deductible

Since marijuana (including medical marijuana) remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, companies aren’t allowed to deduct their expenses when paying taxes. This costs businesses operating within the legal marijuana sphere millions of dollars in revenue because all of their income is taxable.

State-Level Regulations That Sustain High Marijuana Prices

Licensing Application Fees

One of the requirements a medical marijuana dispensary has to fulfill before opening for operations is getting approved for licensing. This process can cost businesses anywhere between $2,000 and $20,000.

Supply and Demand - 3.5 Ounces Per Patient, Per Harvest

The 35 licensed cultivators in Ohio have permission to grow their crops on a combined 545,000 square feet of space. By using the figures provided by this publication from the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, every individual cannabis plant requires roughly 9 feet of growing space to yield 215 grams.

By calculating supply only for the 130,000 active patients within the Ohio medical marijuana program not considering those who have a medical marijuana card but don’t purchase, the potential total is just 3.5 ounces per patient, per harvest.

This is on top of the fact that every Ohio cannabis dispensary serves 6,000 patients. This figure stands in stark contrast to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program which provides a dispensary for every 185 patients, which illuminates the present challenges when it comes to managing supply and demand for Ohio medical marijuana patients.

Competition Gap

The original allotment for medical marijuana dispensaries set forth by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy was originally capped at 57. Even though the vast majority of Ohio patients live within a half-hour’s drive of their nearest dispensary, other patients drive an hour or more for their medicine. Populous metropolitan areas like Cleveland only have two dispensaries serving the city’s whole population.

Federal and State-Level Legislation With the Potential to Decrease Medical Marijuana Prices in Ohio

Even though medical marijuana prices in Ohio have historically been higher than its counterparts, there are numerous factors in play at multiple levels that could change circumstances. Those include:

The SAFE Banking Act

There are numerous alterations that are being made that will reduce medical marijuana prices in the relatively near future. As far as the Federal level goes, the SAFE Banking Act has circulated the halls of congress since 2019. Each year it seemingly inches closer towards becoming the law of the land. This bill has the potential to make it easier for banks to work with above board marijuana companies without the prospect of Federal pushback.

Marijuana businesses having the freedom to operate with businesses without the added cost of being high risk reduces the cost of business. Additionally, patients would have the option to use debit cards to make purchases as opposed to being limited to making cash purchases. The experience of arriving at a dispensary only to face the realization that you have no cash can be frustrating to say the least (and that’s before paying $8 to use the in-house ATM machine).

More Dispensaries Opening Throughout the State of Ohio

The SAFE Banking Act has the potential of taking longer than a year to enact, but fortunately there are changes coming at the State level much sooner. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has granted approval for 73 dispensaries to receive their dispensary licences which brings the total number of dispensaries statewide to 130. This reduces the number of patients being served by each dispensary in the State by more than half.

Cultivators in Ohio Actively Preparing for Expansion

The Ohio Department of Commerce started allowing current cultivators to seek licensing that would provide them with three times the amount of growing space. The cultivators granted permission to grow up to 25,000 square feet of marijuana will have approval to grow 75,000 square feet while those who were licensed for 3,000 square feet will have permission to expand to 9,000 square feet pending approval.

The Cost of Medical Marijuana at Ohio Dispensaries Has Decreased Dramatically Since 2019

The thing about medical marijuana is that yes - it is expensive, but prices at the moment are roughly half of what they were at the start of the State’s medical marijuana program. Upon the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio back in 2019, the average cost of an ounce of medical mairjuana flower was $500. Half-gram vape cartridges cost patients $120 at the time.

It’s evident to understand why many patients balked at the prices, deciding not to purchase such expensive products. That’s especially the case given the fact that most people who rushed to obtain their medical marijuana cards already medicated using cannabis purchased for far less on the legacy market (also known as the black or illicit marketplace).

The astronomical prices from the infancy of the medical marijuana program have led to a public perception that medical mairjuana is still overly expensive. The news that Ohioans should find relieving is that the cost of medical marijuana has decreased by half or more since 2019.

As of December 2021, patients who have access to medical marijuana can purchase flower for between $190 and $390 per ounce. Medical marijuana half-gram vape cartridges can be purchased from the range of $30 to $80.

Get Access Medical Marijuana in Ohio Today - Obtain Your Ohio Marijuana Card

Since medical marijuana pricing is decreasing and steadily predicted to fall, people who are considering obtaining their medical marijauna card benefit from doing so sooner rather than later. Getting an appointment that agrees with a busy schedule could become difficult as word about decreasing medical marijuana prices throughout the State starts to spread.

Questions about medical marijuana can be answered by calling patient support representatives six days a week at (866)457-5559. Once those questions are answered, schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana physician capable of getting you approved for a medical marijuana card. Doing so can provide you with relief you didn’t know was possible!


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!

Check out Ohio Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Ohio.


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