Ohio Medical Cannabis Patients Rejoice As Edibles Will Soon Be Available

Ohio Medical Cannabis Patients Rejoice As Edibles Will Soon Be Available

The first medical cannabis product manufacturing license was just awarded in Ohio, giving patients in the program a reason to celebrate.

Located in East Fultonham in Muskingum County, Grow Ohio is officially the first producer to be awarded a license to manufacture popular cannabis products like edibles, tinctures, transdermal patches, and topical salves, creams, or lotions in the Buckeye State.

“It’ll open up the choices patients have available to them and they can purchase their medical marijuana to treat their condition,” said Executive Vice President of Grow Ohio Justin Hunt. “We hired the right people, we have the right formulas and we are just excited to make a broader market available that have registered in Ohio.”

Grow Ohio manufactures its products in a 60,000 square-foot-building near Zanesville, which is just about 55 miles east of Columbus. In the same facility, a 25,000 square foot space is dedicated to cultivating cannabis plants. Grow Ohio received approval to grow the plants in September of last year.

While the medical cannabis retail program has been active in Ohio since January of this year, the only product available for purchase so far has been dried cannabis flower.

The first day that Ohio medical cannabis patients were granted safe, reliable access to lab-tested medication via dispensaries, they collectively spent more than $75,0000 on nearly nine pounds of flower. Only four retail locations were open for business on the first day that sales began.

Approximately 5,500 patients have purchased medical cannabis from a dispensary since the first day of legal retail sales began on January 16, 2019.

According to Grow Ohio representative Josh Febus, the first products the company plans to produce are syringes filled with edibles cannabis oil, flavored gummies, and tinctures. They expect to introduce cannabis oil capsules and topical creams to the market by May of this year.

One Form Is Not Enough

It is unfortunate, for many patients in Ohio, that the only product available to purchase from a dispensary is dried flower because it remains illegal to smoke or combust plant material in the state. Ohio medical cannabis patients are however permitted to vaporize dried cannabis flower, according to state law, but that is not an ideal method of administration for all patients.

Those who need to ingest their cannabis medication have to take an extra step before they can medicate. A patient would have to use the dried flower material that they buy from the dispensary to make cannabutter or a tincture at home. Since both of these processes take a good chunk of time to make at home, it is a lot of extra work for someone who just wants to medicate quickly for immediate symptom relief. For some patients suffering from severely debilitating conditions, that extra step may be impossible.

Growing at home remains illegal for Ohio medical cannabis patients.

Future Processing Licenses

There are 37 more manufacturing businesses waiting in the state that have already been issued provisional licenses. Once final approval is secured, each will receive a certificate of operation to be able to begin manufacturing cannabis products, according to Kerry Francis of the Ohio Commerce Department. A total of up to 40 processors may be licensed in the state of Ohio.

Ohio Medical Cannabis Program Update

The following are the statistics for the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program as of March 7, 2019:

  • 19,395 Patients with verified recommendations have registered for the program.
  • 973 Caregivers have registered for the program.
  • 413 Physicians are certified to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients.
  • 9 Dispensaries are open for business.
  • 1 Processor has received approval to begin manufacturing products.
  • 3 Lab testing facilities have received approval to test products.

How to Get Medical Cannabis in Ohio

A qualified patient must follow three main steps to obtain medical cannabis in Ohio.

  1. Receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a state-licensed physician.
  2. Pay the registration fee to get an official patient card.
  3. Find a dispensary and make a purchase.

Do you need to apply for a medical cannabis patient registration card in the Buckeye State? Click here to learn how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Ohio.

Which Conditions Qualify for Medical Cannabis in Ohio?

Currently, 22 conditions qualify for medical cannabis in Ohio:

AIDS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Alzheimer’s disease

Cancer

Chronic Pain

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Crohn’s disease

Epilepsy or another seizure disorder

Fibromyalgia

Glaucoma

Hepatitis C

Inflammatory bowel disease

Intractable Pain

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson’s disease

Positive status for HIV

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sickle cell anemia

Spinal cord disease or injury

Tourette’s syndrome

Traumatic brain injury

Ulcerative colitis

Ohio Sells $75k in Successful First Day of Sales

Ohio Sells $75k in Successful First Day of Sales

The four medical marijuana dispensaries that were open for business, on the first day of sales in Ohio, collectively sold 8.7 pounds of dried cannabis flower. According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, that total volume generated $75,000 in sales.

There are 60 licenses available in Ohio, but only four dispensaries were fully approved and stocked with product on January 16, 2018, the historical first day of legal sales. The four dispensaries are:

  • CY+ Dispensary, 180 Main St. in Wintersville, OH
  • The Forest Sandusky, 1671 Tiffin Ave. in Sandusky, OH
  • Ohio Valley Natural Relief, 840 Canton Rd. in Wintersville, OH
  • The Botanist, 3840 Greentree Ave. SW in Canton, OH

While products for other methods of delivery, like edibles, capsules, tinctures, and topical lotions may be manufactured in Ohio, dried flower was the only form available on the first day.

The Ohio Tenth

Unlike the regulated markets in states like Colorado and Washington, all medical marijuana flower in the Buckeye State must be sold in packages measured to one-tenth of an ounce, known as the “Ohio tenth.” One-tenth of an ounce is 2.83 grams. This is slightly different than how it is typically done at dispensaries in other legal states, and on the black market, where flower is often sold by the gram, the eighth of an ounce, quarter of an ounce, and so on, all the way up.

The Price You Pay

As initially high prices were shocking to some patients, the cost of medical marijuana in Ohio is expected to drop slightly as more dispensaries open, and a wider variety of products become available.

Joan Caleodis, 55, is credited as the first person to purchase medical marijuana in Ohio. Joan reported that she paid $150.00 for three of the one-tenth ounce packages of the same indica strain. “I’m ecstatic patients are no longer waiting for relief,” Joan said.

Home cultivation remains illegal, so patients have no other legal option but to pay whatever the going rate is for medication at the dispensary. “I understand the need to make back the money they put in, but this is – my god,” said Ken Horner, 65, who drove 3.5 hours from Dayton to CY+ Dispensary in Wintersville.

Patient Cards

Are you a patient suffering from one of the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio? Do you still need to apply to the program? Follow this link to learn how to get a medical marijuana card in Ohio.

Photo courtesy of Chris Crook

Ohio Lawmakers Launch Task Forces For Medical Cannabis Information

Ohio Lawmakers Launch Task Forces For Medical Cannabis Information

Multiple state legislators in Ohio have launched separate initiatives seeking to gain more information about medical cannabis, and the ways in which legalization of the substance would impact the state.

One such initiative, launched by state Sens. Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) announced recently that they will hold a series of public information sessions throughout the state, beginning January 30, to gather more information on the topic. The tour will include stops in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

“Other drugs are administered and overseen by the federal government,”

said Burke, a pharmacist.

“If we are going to use a substance as a drug, to me, it should follow that process. My fear in the state process is that there are variabilities from state to state.”

The senators’ trip was announced following the formation of a separate 15-member House task force that will also examine the issue of medical cannabis. The House panel –comprised of  individuals from across the political, medical, and business spheres– plans to assess the issue and generate relevant recommendations by the end of March.

An initiative to legalize cannabis in the state was placed on the ballot in November 2015, an effort that ultimately fell short.  State advocacy groups are debating whether to push for another ballot initiative this year.

Polling of Ohioans has found strong support for the legalization of medical cannabis.

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