ASHTABULA, Ohio — Ohio is considering adding 73 new medical marijuana dispensaries to its exciting 57 approved dispensaries, potentially creating 130 across the state.
That’s welcome news for medical marijuana patient Laura DeAngelis, who travels 30 to 40 minutes to the nearest dispensary to her Ashtabula home in Painesville.
It’s a trek that’s worth the time and effort.
“I used to spend a lot of time in bed,” said DeAngelis, who has Fibromyalgia. “I would be bedridden and not able to move. Stiff joints, stiff muscles.”
Kevin Barry Laura uses edibles like these to treat her fibromyalgia.
The extreme pain goes away, according to DeAngelis, when she uses medical marijuana edibles and vape pens. But finding the same product at each visit is another barrier.
“Sometimes I have to switch brands, sometimes they don’t have the stuff that I usually use in stock,” said DeAngelis.
That’s not unusual in Ohio.
Many medical marijuana patients have said they have to travel pretty far and pay a lot of money for what is often a limited supply of products, meaning they have to purchase different brands and products.
Kevin Barry Medical marijuana patients wait for The Forest Sandusky to open in 2019.
Expanding the number of dispensaries from 57 to 130 in Ohio could help with travel distance, price, and supply, but industry experts are worried about how those licenses will be given out.
“Our concern is we have to keep the standards high,” said Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association (OMCIA) Executive Director Matt Close. “It has to be competitive.”
OMCIA represents about 50 Ohio Medical Marijuana License-holders, covering cultivators, processors, and dispensary businesses. Close says he thinks 73 new dispensaries are a good number to expand to and that the state’s attention to spending them out evenly across the state will also help.