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Ohioans Dissatisfied with State’s Medical Pot Program: Survey

By Alex Halperin Sep 8, 2020
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Alex Halperin is the founder, editor and publisher of WeedWeek. Before he started covering marijuana legalization in 2014 he reported on topics such as fracking, health care, technology a...
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Alex Halperin is the founder, editor and publisher of WeedWeek. Before he started covering marijuana legalization in 2014 he reported on topics such as fracking, health care, technology and finance. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, Fast Company, Quartz, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, The New Yorker and many other publications. His first book, The Cannabis Dictionary, was published in March. He lives in Los Angeles.
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A survey of 400 Ohioans, most of whom are medical marijuana users, found widespread dissatisfaction with the legal MED program in the potentially major cannabis market. (Read the survey here.)

Conducted by The Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, the second annual survey found plenty of complaints about the state’s cannabis program.  

The survey found 61.6% of Ohioans are somewhat or extremely dissatisfied with legal MED in Ohio. The number represents an improvement from 2019 when 67% were dissatisfied. By contrast, 27.8% of respondents reported that they were somewhat or extremely satisfied with the program, up from 16.7% last year.

A large majority of respondents said they preferred to purchase medical cannabis at licensed dispensaries but found substantial obstacles to doing so. The barriers include the price of legal product and the difficulty of the registration process and obtaining a doctor’s recommendation.

The cost of legal product remains a significant source of dissatisfaction. Pot costs an average of $18.18 per gram at Ohio dispensaries compared to $8.42 on the illegal market and $9.38 at Michigan dispensaries. 

Of those patients who have a qualifying condition, the largest number reported not using MED because it’s too expensive and because they are worried about losing their job. They’re also worried about other legal consequences stemming from the federal illegality of cannabis.

After passing legislatively, Ohio’s MED program took effect in September 2016, making the Buckeye State the 25th to legalize some form of MED. It remains a relatively small program, grossing $151.9M in sales since January 2019. For comparison, Oklahoma, with a far smaller population, saw $300M in MED sales in the first five months of this year.

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Alex Halperin
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