The Ohio Board of Pharmacy on Monday approved raising the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state from 60 – a limit initially set in 2017 – to 130, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The application process for the new licenses, 73 in all, will open later this year.
The 60-dispensary limit was based on an estimated patient count of between 12,000 and 24,000 over two years; there are now 92,772 active registered patients in the state. In 2018, the board awarded 57 licenses – three fewer than expected as three districts lacks enough applicants to award the maximum number. Five of those dispensaries still have not opened.
Sharon Maerten-Moore, the board’s director of medical marijuana operations, said that expanding the number of dispensaries would decrease patient travel time and, “due to more competition in the market, prices will decrease over time.”
An additional nine licenses will be issued in Franklin County, where there are six current licensees. In Hamilton County, which encompasses Cincinnati, the number of licenses will be raised from three to 11. Summit County, which includes Akron, will see an increase from three to five licenses. Several counties will be able to host their first dispensary under the expansion.
The board anticipates each dispensary can serve 300 to 600 patients. Last year, the state added just one new condition – cachexia or wasting syndrome – to the list of qualifying conditions. In a 2020 survey, 58.4% of respondents indicated that the state’s medical cannabis prices are too high.
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