Ohio medical cannabis patients and caregivers are disappointed with high-priced medicine


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The results of a new survey initiated by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program are in. Based on the findings, 58.4 percent of patients and caregivers enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program are not pleased with the pricing of their sought-after products.

Every single patient and caregiver who has registered with the program was on the receiving end of this survey, which reconfirmed the problems that are being frequently discussed in online forums. 

More than 10 percent of 11,936 registered patients and caregivers responded to the recent survey, which revealed that 59.9 percent are forking out as much as $299 on a monthly basis for medical cannabis in Ohio.

The coronavirus pandemic is believed to have aggravated pricing woes for Ohio’s medical cannabis program, what with stores hiking up their prices as they served long lines of desperate customers.

An overview of Ohio medical cannabis pricing

The cost of medical cannabis in Ohio is dependent on the type of product being purchased. At the end of November, the per-ounce price of plant material averaged $284.10. This is less than the recorded cost during the first week of dispensaries opening January 19, 2019 when the per-ounce price of medical cannabis (plant material) was around $428.

During the first few months of legal medical cannabis sales in Ohio, prices went on a rollercoaster ride, before they started to dwindle during the second-half of the year; cultivators began churning out more weed and patient demand was met with less overall expense. By January 18, 2020 the average price of medical cannabis in Ohio had sunk to $303.40 an ounce.

Just two months later, the first Coronavirus cases were declared in Ohio, where social distancing measures went into place on March 15. Since customers were limited to arranging pickup or curbside delivery services in order to obtain their medicine, the average cost of plant material soared from $292 to $300 per ounce between March 21 and March 28.

Patients say pricing of medical cannabis in Ohio is “unreasonable”

Unsatisfied patients were not shy to share their opinions about the excessive price tag attached to medical cannabis in Ohio. Comments from the public were welcomed when the state recently distributed a survey; patient identity was not revealed in the comments.

“Why are these products so expensive? Does Ohio realize that those prescribed mmj (medical cannabis) often deal with symptoms that make working full time difficult?” asked one patient. Another patient demanded justification for what was described as “UNREASONABLE” medical cannabis pricing in Ohio, which is so expensive that patients are turning their attention to illegal avenues.

According to Greg McIlvaine of the Ohio Department of Commerce responsible (along with two other agencies) for regulating medical cannabis the state is “right there in the middle between Michigan and Illinois.” He makes a point, with a report issued in September showing that an ounce of medical cannabis plant material in Michigan costs $263.89. The following month in Illinois, plant material averaged $378 per ounce.

“So we would hope to expect as our market matures, and we continue to get cultivators online and products, that our prices will start to decline even further from about the $300 per ounce to something closer to $265 per ounce; as in Michigan,” he concluded.