Medical cannabis patients in Ohio complain of their medicine being too pricey

By April, the average cost per-ounce of pharmaceutical-grade weed in Ohio was more than $450

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Medical cannabis patients in Ohio complain of their medicine being too pricey

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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The cost of medical cannabis in Ohio is deterring patients from paying for their medicine. This is based on the results of a survey carried out by the Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement Policy Center.

Conducted in collaboration with the nonprofit pro-cannabis group Harm Reduction Ohio, the survey revealed how patients feel that pricing severely impacts their decision to buy medical cannabis, with distance being the second most commonly reported hindrance.

The third most frequently reported deterrence for obtaining medical cannabis in Ohio was the difficulty in applying for the required doctor’s recommendation and card.

A total of 640 patients took part in the survey; half of them said they felt “very dissatisfied” with Ohio’s medical cannabis program. Fewer than four percent said they were “very satisfied” and the responses were shared on social media platform Facebook. 

Considering the fact that Ohio’s medical cannabis cardholder count rests at around 52,000, the survey results reflect a need for improvement.

“I think it’s important to note the context of the period of time we’re currently in, and I look forward to seeing the results of a similar survey six months to a year from now,’ said the executive director of the Ohio Medical Marijuana License Holder Coalition, Alex Thomas.

Survey is one of the first attempts to understand Ohio’s medical cannabis patient demographic

No other survey or report has delved into the views of Ohio’s medical cannabis patients. Although a fairly new industry with the first dispensaries opening their doors in January – the bumps in Ohio’s medical cannabis program should be straightened out by now. 

Ohio State University’s survey will, hopefully, give lawmakers a push to improve the program. Failure to do so could mean that patients feel forced to buy from the black market.

“The illicit market is available 24 hours a day,” said the director of the Drug Enforcement Policy Center, Doug Berman. “And you don’t have to worry about whether there is going to be a line. The dealer has a way of becoming convenient. Those are things folks who have used the illicit market have gotten used to, and it may be that inconvenience turns people away from [the legal program].”

Cost of medical cannabis in Ohio poses a problem for patients

A report from Cleveland.com revealed how the average cost of an ounce of legal bud was $539 when sales first began in mid-January. By April, the average cost per-ounce of pharmaceutical-grade weed in Ohio was more than $450. 

Prices like this make the black market all the more appealing. Despite being unregulated, black market weed is much cheaper to get hold of than regulated medical cannabis in Ohio.

However, since Ohio State University’s survey was carried out, more dispensaries have opened their doors; just 19 of 56 proposed medical cannabis dispensaries had opened their doors when the survey took place. Around 30 dispensaries are now in operation and as the industry grows, more patients should have close access to affordable weed-based medicines.