COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted Monday afternoon to more than double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to a total of 130 from the current 57 provisional and active licensed businesses.
The reasons behind the increase are twofold: To increase access for patients who drive far distances to buy product, as well as to create more competition to drive down prices, said Sharon Maerten-Moore, the board’s director of medical marijuana operations.
Board of Pharmacy staff studied for months whether the number of dispensaries in Ohio was sufficient. It sent patients and caregivers surveys, which is how it learned about how far patients are driving and whether they thought prices were reasonable. That survey found 58.4% are dissatisfied with prices and about 20% were driving more than 30 miles to a dispensary.
They also looked at ZIP code data from dispensaries to get an idea of how far people were traveling. Not only have rural Ohioans been driving far for marijuana, some patients who live in urban areas drive far too because of long lines at the businesses near home.
“Some of them choose to drive to a father away dispensary because it takes them less time