Ohio medical cannabis sales start strong, but not all patients are buying

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Ohio medical cannabis sales start strong, but not all patients are buying

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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New data has shown that Ohio’s medical cannabis industry is experiencing a stroke of beginners luck, with the state harvesting sales of $1.85 million in less than two months.

There is a downside, however. Extortionate prices and lack of access to dispensaries has prevented patients from participating in Ohio’s medical cannabis industry. Registration for medical cannabis in Ohio started on December 3, 2018. So far, 19,395 patients have signed up. Despite the high number of patients who have enrolled in the program, only 5,465 have purchased medical cannabis in Ohio.

Ohio’s medical cannabis industry could yield $500 million annually

The launch date for Ohio’s medical cannabis sales was January 16. Since that time, the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries have averaged a weekly sales packet of approximately $248,000.

Ohio’s medical cannabis market is predicted to soar in value dramatically when it is mature, with analysts predicting that the market will net $300 million to $500 million annually. Strong sales indicate a positive sign for the nascent industry, but this doesn’t change the fact that a mere 28 percent of registered patients have visited a dispensary.

The lack of medical cannabis purchases in Ohio could be attributed to the fact that the state only had four dispensaries open when the industry launched. Now, the number of dispensaries has increased to nine, but restrictions in geographic placement has made it tricky for some Ohioans to buy their bud.

High prices are driving consumers away from medical cannabis in Ohio

Analysts have been closely monitoring Ohio’s medical cannabis market, where the per-ounce price of weed averages at around $480. This is much higher than the per-ounce price in neighboring Michigan, which is around $320 pre-tax, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

Ohio’s extortionate cannabis costs could be caused by supply constraints; a problem that commonly arises in new markets that are undergoing drastic development. If this is the case, prices are likely to drop when the market fully matures.

For example, Pennsylvania’s market is still developing. The state is edging closer to its second year of medical cannabis sales and the average per-ounce price is $480, whereas the per-ounce price in mature medical cannabis markets like Massachusetts ($350) and Illinois ($375) is much lower.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) reports that 38 pot processors in Ohio have been issued provisional licenses, yet they are still waiting to receive their certificates of operation. A total of 16 certificates of operation had been distributed to cultivators by the OMMCP as of March 7, when 22,276 medical cannabis recommendations has been issued to Ohioans by 413 registered physicians.

The OMCCP has also issued certificates of operation to nine dispensaries and three testing labs.