Often, medical marijuana patients who live in legal states still face many roadblocks preventing them from accessing their medicine. One of the most common speed bumps many medical marijuana patients encounter is not having a dispensary near enough to their home. This problem is far more common than you may expect, especially in states where there are caps on the number of dispensaries permitted. One of these states is Ohio, where currently, the state cap on dispensaries is 60.

Current Ohio Dispensary Limit

Medical marijuana use was first legalized in Ohio in 2016 through a state legislature vote. Though legalized in 2016, the first medical marijuana sales didn’t occur until 2019. In doing so, the Ohio legislature enacted a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed in the state. The current dispensary limit sits at 60. Among other problems, one major concern about caps on dispensaries is that they limit the ability of medical marijuana patients to purchase their medicine easily, safely, and close to home.  

In a vote that may make life easier on Ohio medical marijuana patients, a state board will decide Friday, March 10th whether or not to lift the dispensary cap. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy proposed the rule change, but has not yet specified what they want the new cap to be. If the state board does approve a change, they will also have the ability to specify a new dispensary limit should they choose to enact one. 

Likelihood of a Change

It is hard to tell how likely the state board is to adjust the rules on dispensary amounts, but the change would likely be welcomed by many of Ohio’s medical marijuana patients. As long as all dispensaries are held to a high standard and regulated accordingly, the more there are the better it is for patients. One argument in favor of dispensary caps is that they may make it easier on the state to keep track of the marijuana industry while preventing unsatisfactory business practices from taking hold. However if the businesses are regulated effectively, restrictive dispensary caps seem unnecessary. Expanding patient access to their medicine is key in navigating medical marijuana legalization moving forward.

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