The medical marijuana control act was signed into law by then-Governor John Kasich in 2016, but the first Ohio dispensary didn’t open until March of this year. Since then, the state has opened 28 dispensaries, each offering an array of products offering varying concentrations of THC and CBD, the two components that patients use to control symptoms and experience relief.
Looking to visit an Ohio dispensary to purchase medical marijuana? You aren’t alone. Recent data released by the State of Ohio Pharmacy Board reveals that 62 percent of the medicinal marijuana cardholders in the state are 40 or older— and one in five is 60 years old or older. Only one in 10 cardholders are 18 or 19 years old.
Before you visit a dispensary, there are a few crucial steps that you’ll need to take first.
1) See if you qualify
Medical marijuana is just that— medical. It is not available for everyone. There are 21 qualifying conditions in Ohio, which can be found at medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.
At Soothe, a medical marijuana dispensary on N. Main St. in Bowling Green, general manager Mimi Gonzalez has seen a variety of patients, saying “We have many patients with serious health issues who seek us out for consultation to learn what strains will be most effective in addressing those health concerns.”
If you are unsure whether or not your medical status qualifies according to the list, it’s still worth moving on to the next step.
2) Visit a doctor
To be entered into the state registry, you need a doctor’s recommendation.
When visiting the doctor, both patients (adults and minors) and caregivers, need to bring an unexpired state driver’s license or ID card or U.S. passport with them to the doctor’s office.
After the certified physician has recommended medical marijuana, both patients and caregivers will receive an email with a link to confirm the registration and pay an annual registration fee of $50. For veterans and individuals who qualify for federal entitlement programs, the fee is $25.
4) Visit a dispensary
This isn’t as easy as just walking in. To gain access to a dispensary, you must present a patient registry card and a photo ID at a state-licensed dispensary. Once inside, trained staff can assist individual patients in selecting the right product.
“We take great care in reviewing each patient’s qualifying conditions and any recommendations of their physician as we explain the options in our inventory to address these conditions,” said Gonzalez.
“If there is a patient with questions or concerns about a recommendation or any medical marijuana product they can set an appointment for a private consultation by our trained staff.”
According to state law, all medical marijuana products must be stored securely in the original container from the dispensary with the original label, printed individually for each patient and affixed to the container at the time of purchase.
5) Pick up a product
Patients are limited to a “90-day supply” at any given time, per state law, and amounts are tracked across the state. The state defines the supply by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content.
Fortunately, THC is a marijuana compound that generates a high or euphoric feeling, so it isn’t necessarily the go-to compound for medical marijuana users. Another compound, CBD (cannabidiol) does not generate a high, so state regulations allow for the purchase and possession of greater amounts of products that have higher CBD and lower THC content.
For answers to additional questions about Ohio’s medical marijuana program, visit medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov or call, toll-free 1-833-4OH-MMCP (1-833-464-6627)