Patients complain about Ohio medical cannabis purchase limits, prompting change

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Complaints regarding cannabis patient purchase limits in Ohio have been arising for quite some time. However, restrictions could soon be lifted, with the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy preparing to review its “90-day supply” rule.

Being on the receiving end of more than 50 public comments has prompted the Board to conduct a review, which would grant medical cannabis patients in Ohio greater access to their medicine. Currently, registered patients are limited to purchasing eight ounces of dried flower within a 90-day period; the 90-day period reduces that amount based on the number of products purchased within the last three months on a rolling basis. 

Another factor that influences patient purchase limits in Ohio is the number of days elapsed in the 90-day recommendation period; as part of the “USE IT OR LOSE IT” rule, patients could miss out on 10 days worth of medical cannabis in Ohio if they, for example, delay their next purchase 20 days after buying a 10-day supply. 

Medical cannabis patients in Ohio are limited to buying their medicine in its raw plant material form in increments defined as 1/10 ounce (2.83 grams). The permitted daily allowance of medical cannabis in Ohio works out as 0.088 oz (2.268 grams/day).

Medical cannabis in Ohio: Patients are running out of medicine 

Numerous flaws exist within the framework for Ohio’s medical cannabis patient program, which began receiving complaints about its 90-day supply limit in March 2019. Nonetheless, this is not to say that it hasn’t been successful; as of January 31, more than 84,000 patients had enrolled in the program. 

Unfortunately, not everybody is a happy customer; patients are reportedly “running out of days” way ahead of reaching day 90. With restrictions having been imposed to curb excessive purchases, Ohio’s medical cannabis patients are left with one of two options: go without or buy from the black market.

Fortunately, change could be on the horizon. Patients now wait anxiously for the Board to confirm whether or not limits will be increased and, if so, by how much. While there is a good chance that Ohio’s patient purchase limits will be amended, medical cannabis consumers will not be allowed to grow their own bud or smoke it; state law prohibits home cultivation and smokeable products.

This isn’t the first time that the Pharmacy Board has pushed for changes to the minimum purchase/sale amount of medical cannabis in Ohio. Back in December of last year, the Board requested that the rounding requirements for minimum flower sales be removed; encouraging equal purchase amounts for a specific number of days. Now, the Board is digging a little deeper to resolve patient woes.

“We don’t want the patients to worry about ‘how many days I have left? How many days have I bought?” said the Board’s Executive Director, Steven Schierholt, during an Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Board meeting. “We don’t want the dispensaries to have to struggle with it.

Medical cannabis in Ohio: Revised program rules to be announced in the coming months

Patients should anticipate the updated rules for Ohio’s medical cannabis program to be revealed no later than May. With that being said, new rules wouldn’t be enacted until the summertime. In the meantime, members of the public will be invited to share their thoughts in the form of comments.

In addition to the re-evaluation of minimum flower sale and patient purchase limits in Ohio, the Board is also expected to figure out ways in which registered patients can gain “indigent status”. Individuals who qualify for this status would be able to purchase dispensary products for discounted prices.

If patients can stock up on more of their medicine, industry analysts predict a boost in sales of medical cannabis in Ohio. Revenue is also likely to increase once the Pharmacy Board’s official website system is fixed; currently, the website is laden with bugs that make it difficult for patients to monitor what they’ve already bought and how much they’re allowed to purchase.