Erik Drost

Half of Ohio MMJ Patients Not Using Program

Only about half of Ohio’s registered medical cannabis patients have made a purchase at a state dispensary, with most patients saying they are deterred by high prices. In fact, for many patients, it’s cheaper to drive to a dispensary in Michigan.

Full story after the jump.

Only about half of Ohio’s 42,000 medical cannabis patients have bought products from dispensaries, with most citing high costs as the barrier, according to state figures outlined by the Alliance Review. Currently, just 18 of the 56 state-approved dispensaries are open for business.

Although the high prices are keeping many patients from purchasing cannabis through the state’s licensed dispensaries, Thomas Rosenberger, associate director for the Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association, said that prices have dropped about 15 percent since the first dispensary opened in January.

According to the report, some patients admit to buying cannabis illegally due to the high costs of the legally-available products, while others say they drive to Michigan – which allows reciprocity for registered patients from other states. Bob Bridges, a patient advocate and Medical Marijuana Advisory Board member, told the Review that medical cannabis prices in Michigan’s more mature market are cheaper, even when factoring in gas. Additionally, for some Ohio patients, Michigan dispensaries are actually closer than any in-state locations.

Last month, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced that medical cannabis sales had topped $5.8 million since sales began in January, with dispensaries selling more than 750 pounds of flower. Of the 29 provisional cultivation licenses, just 17 have received their operating certificates, while only two of the state’s 39 producers have received certification to begin manufacturing edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

Earlier this month, the State Medical Board of Ohio delayed a vote on including anxiety and autism to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying condition list, according to an Associated Press report. In May, the board had recommended that the conditions be added to the medical cannabis regime.

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