The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will be making 73 medical cannabis dispensaries available across the state as a result of the exponential patient count.
Shortage of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Ohio
Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program reported more than 135,000 medical marijuana patients throughout the state this past year. This is significantly higher than the approximated value of 12,000-24,000 patients they had assumed they would have acquired over the past two years. This became a problem as many patients weren’t able to get to one of the 73 different locations, as some locations proved to be far too long a journey. Lorrie Callahan, a West Milton resident who uses medical marijuana said, “I’m thrilled beyond words because that’s saying they’re actually listening to the patients.”
Callahan was more than thrilled to hear this news, as she often must make tedious drives to dispensaries in a galaxy far, far away, or at least so it feels Dayton to Springfield to Monroe is not a drive anyone would like to make to find medicine, but she did it because it is necessary for her health and wellness. She also had trouble finding the edibles in stock that allow her to function and maintain a job because “I have to float between three dispensaries because they’re not all consistent on their products yet,”
Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association director Matt Close stated that they had asked for 100 dispensaries in the new proposal. While the increase of medical marijuana dispensaries was approved, it might not be sufficient enough for the future. “I believe my members think this is fair and the distribution is positive. We just want to make sure going forward as we grow at 7,500 a month patients that they’re able to be quick and nimble in terms of adding more,” he said.
New Licenses and Locations in Ohio
These new licenses will be awarded an RFA II application process that is similar to the one they had used for the first round of licenses. The exact type of application will be announced this spring or summer pending the rule change with the court. “As previously done, RFA II will require applicants to specify the district(s) wherein they are applying, and provisional dispensary licenses will be awarded based on those districts. The districts will remain the same as in the previous RFA,” states this proposal.
After that, all applications will be evaluated to determine who will be considered a qualified applicant. Eligible applications will then be put into a lottery system in which “individual lotteries will be held for each dispensary district with available licenses,” states the proposal. This worries some dispensary operators like Larry Pegram, who is president of Pure Ohio Wellness. “It’s a little concerning that it’s going to be a lottery system. I would expect that anyone would want to get their medical products from the highest-scoring applicants, not just picked out of a hat.”
While it is understandable to be concerned about that, all applicants will have the same requirements, making it a more even playing field. While we are ecstatic that Ohio is increasing its medical legal dispensaries, more activism from marijuana enthusiasts to push for greater access has proven to be a movement to be reckoned with.
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