A team of Ohioans founded MedicateOH in 2019 to do journalism that bridges the gap in education for citizens who seek legally and medically guided answers about their health and wellness, the state’s medical marijuana program, and cannabis as medicine.
Our Mission: Changing the Cannabis Stigma
In early 2019, our team began developing content and a style guideline around reporting on Ohio’s medical marijuana industry. While we hoped to educate patients via the traditional digital magazine advertising model, we quickly found that this wouldn’t work in Ohio. The strict marketing rules imposed by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) on the cultivators and dispensaries made it nearly impossible to seek revenue via an ad model. Furthermore, Facebook’s arbitrary rules about reporting on legal medical marijuana impeded our ability to tell our stories in a way that would reach the patients who needed to have this education.
Throughout the first year of publication, MedicateOH continued to grow despite these challenges. We kicked off the year by hosting a live Facebook panel discussion about changing the stigma of cannabis, bringing Ohioans breaking news about the first dispensary openings at Terrasana and giving readers a sneak peak inside Ohio’s first marijuana cultivation facility at Buckeye Relief. We learned more about the process of getting a medical marijuana card from Dr. Steve Davis at Advocare Clinic in Canton and began analyzing figures and statistics from Ohio’s medical marijuana program as patient numbers began to grow and important data started to be collected.
Reporting on Women and Weed in Ohio
By fall 2019, we found our way to the heart of our publication with our series called “Women Making Ohio Weed Work” that highlighted some of the important women in Ohio who have been working hard to change cannabis’s stigma in the state. We featured Green Harvest Health’s Dr. Bridget Williams, Terrasana‘s Emilie Ramach, Wendy Johnson with the Ohio Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, and vocal cannabis activist Mary Allegar in our first four of this ongoing series highlighting women who are contributing to furthering the education of cannabis patients in Ohio.
As we wrapped up 2019 and headed into 2020, MedicateOH reported on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program’s first year of existence and analyzed some of the data. We covered Covid-19 and how it affected Ohio patients. We officially became a fiscally-sponsored community impact project of Community Shares of Mid-Ohio, a 510 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
Due to the pandemic, we did a lot online. We struck up a partnership with Northern Kentucky University’s Master of Public Administration students who delivered two impactful videos about PTSD, highlighting both a Cincinnati-based recommending medical marijuana practitioner, Dr. James Weeks, and a legal cannabis processor, Bill Williams of Columbus, Ohio’s BeneLeaves. We also launched our Clubhouse series, “MedicateOH Cannabis Chat”, where we invite patients, advocates, and members of the cannabis community to discuss relevant topics. The series continues as a collaboration with the University of Cincinnati’s adjunct faculty Bonnie Rabin’s Introduction to Hemp and Medical Cannabis course.
Reporting & Advocacy
MedicateOH’s main objective has always been to provide patients with information to help guide their medical decisions. In addition to covering MMJ qualifying conditions such as PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, we also tackled writing about the scourge of opiate addiction in Ohio. We’re proud to be one of few local news outlets to produce articles concerning cannabis as a pathway out of opiate addiction. We featured our founder, Gabrielle Dion Visca, who eliminated opiates over two years ago by switching to treating her chronic pain with cannabis.
We’ve used our platform to advocate for autism to be added as a qualifying condition to the medical marijuana program and kept readers informed of what they need to do if they support the right to grow their own cannabis plants for medicine at home. We’ve featured patients who use cannabis in Ohio and brought patients information about many of the state’s cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
MedicateOH Live Community Events
We ended 2020 with our first MedicateOH online fundraiser, the 12 Days of Cannabis. Once state pandemic restrictions made it safe to do so, we held our first live fundraiser, our “420” Trivia, Tunes & Tarot on 4/20/21 at Latitudes Cafe and Bistro in Cincinnati, followed by an education event for PTSD Awareness Day at Ohio CBD Guy at Woodburn Brewing on 6/27/21.
Our first northern Ohio fundraiser, the Community Wellness Brunch and Learn took place in Hudson, Ohio in August 2021. We held our Cannabis Health Fair & Hippie Arts Yard Sale event on September 25th. And in December we held our final fundraiser of 2021, our Cannabis Health Fair and Holidaze Gift Market.
In 2022, our first community education event was Soothing Saturday, our first Columbus event, on Febraury 26th, 2022.
Our April event brought us back to Cincinnati. We thank Queen City Hemp for allowing us to use their warehouse to host our first Community Jam.
We headed back to Columbus for the Cannabis Industry Meet and Greet at the Cleveland School of Cannabis’ Cannabis HUB on June 3rd.
In July, we invited “budding” cannabis writers to take our MedicateOH Cannabis Writers’ Workshop, and graduated 5 students, with many thanks to our sponsors Buckeye Relief, BeneLeaves, and Klutch Cannabis.
Our September events took place in Cincinnati on the 17th and the 25th in Cuyahoga Falls. For our Herbs & Arts Fair, we gathered cannabis companies with local artists, musicians and vendors. We enjoyed swing music and held an art auction. In Cuyahoga Falls, we challenged the cannabis community to see who has the best chili recipe and who could roll the best CBD joint. Here’s some highlights:
MedicateOH believes in these five core tenets:
inclusive, safe space
As a non-profit organization, MedicateOH relies on volunteers in the cannabis community to help develop our platform. We’re always looking for new volunteers, especially those with particular talents in writing, editing, video editing, photography, horticulture, and cannabis advocacy.
MedicateOH is a fiscally-sponsored community impact project of Community Shares of Mid-Ohio, a non-profit organization. To help further MedicateOH’s mission to bridge the gap in education for medical marijuana patients in our state, please make a donation of any amount by clicking below. We are so grateful for your support.