Ohio Looking to Expand Medical Cannabis Program

An Ohio bill is seeking to expand the state’s medical cannabis qualifying conditions list, allow curbside and drive-thru dispensing, increase the number of dispensaries, and expand the square footage of cultivation sites.

Full story after the jump.

A bill introduced in the Ohio Senate seeks to expand the state’s medical cannabis qualifying condition list to include arthritis, migraines, autism spectrum disorder, spasticity or chronic muscle spasms, hospice care, opioid use disorder, and any other condition for which a patient could benefit from cannabis use, Cleveland.com reports.

Billed as a significant expansion of medical cannabis in the state, the proposal has a Republican sponsor and comes as signatures are being collected for an adult-use initiative for the state’s 2022 ballot.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Stephen Huffman (R), said the bill reflects feedback he has heard from constituents in the five years since Ohio passed its medical cannabis law. In addition to expanding the state’s qualifying conditions list, the proposal would allow curbside and drive-thru dispensing and would increase the number of dispensaries to one for every 1,000 patients, up to the first 300,000 patients, and the need to expand licensees would be re-evaluated once every two years.

Under the bill, large scale cultivation sites would be expanded from 25,000-square-feet to 75,000-square-feet and small scale sites would expand from 3,000-square-feet to 20,000-square-feet. The hope is that expansion might lower prices for patients, who have long noted the high cost of medical cannabis when compared to other legal states nearby, according to the report.

“There’s a lot of veterans and disabled people who found [curb side and drive-thru service] useful during the pandemic,” Huffman said in the report. “Medical marijuana is about $310 an ounce, which is much higher than surrounding states because there’s not enough product.”

Huffman sees the bill as a small business package and hopes it will get a hearing in the Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee next week.

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