Prices fall for medical marijuana after one year

Prices fall for medical marijuana after one year
January 17, 2020

A year ago Thursday, the first patients in Ohio were able to get medical marijuana. Back then, some patients drove hours to get it because there were only four dispensaries open statewide. There were long lines because of the limited supply available. A year later, the program has grown dramatically but industry experts said it still has a long way to go. (WSYX/WTTE)

A year ago Thursday, the first patients in Ohio were able to get medical marijuana. Back then, some patients drove hours to get it because there were only four dispensaries open statewide. There were long lines because of the limited supply available. A year later, the program has grown dramatically but industry experts said it still has a long way to go.

“When the program first started a year ago, everybody was still struggling to get up and running,” said Larry Pegram, the owner of Pure Ohio Wellness which runs a cultivation facility in Springfield and several dispensaries. “It was definitely a hectic time for us.”

Pegram said there were growing pains for the entire program at first but now he felt it’s hit its stride.

“It’s good that it has kind of built and now it’s really starting to get rolling,” he said.

Ben Garbarek

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The Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association said the number of dispensaries in Ohio has grown from four to 47. The state has 20 cultivation sites compared to 14 a year ago. The price of an ounce has fallen from $538 to $330, putting it in line with neighboring states like Pennsylvania.

Industry experts said the main area where the program has fallen short is in the number of patients. The program started with only about 5000 patients enrolled.

“Going back to that first day when there’s only four dispensaries in far-flung corners of the state, a lot of patients didn’t have access to a dispensary, said Thomas Rosenberger with the Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association. “It didn’t make sense to sign up for a card because they couldn’t really use it.”

Now the program has more than 80,000 patients enrolled but Rosenberger said experts expected 200,000 by this point. That’s a number many working in medical marijuana in Ohio think could be reached in 2020, particularly if the State Medical Board of Ohio adds more conditions patients would be eligible to use it. So far only 21 conditions have been approved by the state for medical cannabis.

“Where we were a year ago seems like ten years ago,” Pegram said. “It’s one of those years that even though it went by like that, that so much has changed.”

The State Medical Board of Ohio is accepting applications for new conditions. It will decide later this year which ones, if any, to add. The board nearly added anxiety and autism spectrum disorder to the program but declined to include it. Those two conditions could dramatically increase the number of people eligible.

 

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