It is common to hear about Ohio medical marijuana patients driving to Michigan to buy cannabis to “get a better deal”.* But how accurate is their assumption? Nar Reserve has a dispensary in Columbus, Ohio, and a sister dispensary in Monroe, Michigan. The owners wanted to see what the price differences were between the states and if the patients in Ohio were right. MedicateOH has the report.

*It is ILLEGAL for anyone to travel across state lines with medical cannabis, regardless of patient status. Ohio cannabis is illegal in Michigan and Michigan cannabis is illegal in Ohio. It is NEVER advised that Ohio patients travel to Michigan, as it puts them at risk of being charged with drug trafficking. MedicateOH and Nar Reserve do not condone the interstate shopping of cannabis products of any kind.

The Issue of Cannabis Prices: Ohio vs. Michigan

According to the recently released 2023 Ohio State University Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) which evaluates the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program annually, “Marijuana products continue to be more affordable in the state of Michigan.” This is despite a recorded 31.1 percent drop in marijuana prices from July 2022 to July 2023 in Ohio dispensaries. 

OSU’s report adds, “However, when we look at the price differential between July 2022 and July 2023, we see a significant decline in price differential from $5.08 to $2.60 per gram of cannabis flower. Michigan prices stabilized somewhat over the last twelve months while prices in Ohio continued to steadily decline over the same period of time, thus bringing prices in both states closer to each other.”     

MedicateOH delved more deeply into this specific topic. Factoring in all costs and risks, we wanted to know–is it worth it? 

Gas and Mileage

How much money you will spend on gas will depend on how far you have to travel to the Michigan border. There are plenty of dispensaries along the state line, in Morenci, MI and surrounding areas.

CityMiles to Morenci, MI
CincinnatiAbout 200 miles
ColumbusAbout 170 miles
ClevelandAbout 150 miles

*Fastest Route Data retrieved from Google Maps August 25, 2023

How much you spend on gas will also depend on where you fill up, what type of fuel you fill up with, how many miles to the gallon you get, and whether or not you have loyalty points to cash in. However, we will take the average price of gas across the state and calculate different tank sizes according to Highway driving stats on the average vehicle.

According to the US Department of Energy (2023), Light-duty vehicles can average anywhere from 15mpg to 25mpg (Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maps and Data, 2023). Additionally, AAA says the average gallon of gas in Ohio on August 25, 2023, is $3.52 (AAA Gas Prices, n.d.).

Miles Per Gallon (HWY)Gallons Needed (Approx.)Round Trip Fuel Cost (Approx.)
15mpgCincinnati – 28 gallons
Columbus – 24 gallons
Cleveland – 20 gallons
Cincinnati – (28 x 3.52) = $98.56
Columbus – (24 x 3.52) = $84.48
Cleveland – (20 x 3.52) = $70.40
20mpgCincinnati – 20 gallons
Columbus – 18 gallons
Cleveland – 16 gallons
Cincinnati – (20 x 3.52) = $70.40
Columbus – (18 x 3.52) = $63.36
Cleveland – (16 x 3.52) = $56.32
25mpgCincinnati – 16 gallons
Columbus – 14 gallons
Cleveland – 12 gallons
Cincinnati – (16 x 3.52) = $56.32
Columbus – (14 x 3.52) = $49.28
Cleveland – (12 x 3.52) = $42.24
Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maps and data. (2023)., and AAA gas prices. (n.d.). 

Driving to and from the state line from one of the Big C’s can cost anywhere from $40 to $100 in gas. That is one hefty tax to factor into your decision.

Dispensary Prices 

Next, let’s compare dispensary pricing. The closest dispensaries to the border are in Morenci, Michigan, minutes from the state line. 

To compare the price of cannabis flower, we used a weight of one ounce. This is due to some stores not carrying a half ounce, as well as the differences in how smaller amounts are measured from state to state. For instance, in Michigan, cannabis is sold in traditional increments of ⅛ of an ounce; Ohio sells cannabis in 1/10 ounce increments. This makes it incredibly difficult to fully compare prices for cannabis flower between states.

The Columbus Dispatch examined the difficulty of price comparisons in 2020, noting that size variations and sales prices also can play into the confusion of the data. 

Additionally, Michigan’s potency limits are different from Ohio’s. Ohio has a potency cap of 70% for concentrates and vape cartridges, as well as a potency limit of 55mg per serving for edibles. In Michigan, it is common to find concentrates and vapes that go beyond 90%. However, you will not find packages of edibles in Michigan higher than 200mg total. 

Sales Tax rates also are different:

Morenci, Michigan – 6%

Cleveland, Ohio – 8%

Columbus, Ohio – 7.5%

Cincinnati, Ohio – 7.8%


Jade CollectionRemedii StatelinePinnacle EmporiumsAscend Cannabis*Nar Cannabis Monroe
Flower1oz = $50-$1351oz = $50-$2001oz = $90-$2701oz = $40-$1151oz = $75-$139
Concentrate1g = $20-$301g = ~$201g = $18-$201g = $15-$451g = $20-$70
Edibles100mg = ~$20100mg = $6-$12100mg = $8-$16100mg = ~$6100mg = $5-$20
Vapes1g = $16-$501g = $10-$301g = $15-$351g = $15-$351g = $15-$60
*Sister store of Nar Reserve Columbus for comparison               
**Prices from online menus on August 25, 2023 (may include daily sale price) 


Sunnyside CincinnatiThe Forest SanduskyBackroad Wellness LimaHarvest of AthensNar Reserve Columbus
Flower1oz = $120-$2581oz = $66-$1441oz = $3001oz = $137-$2251oz = $65-$138
Concentrate1g = $44-$801g = $25-$54*0.84g = $35-$601g = $501g = $10-$57
Edibles100mg = $20-$42100mg = $14-$32100mg = $12-$27100mg = $12-$30100mg = $10-$22
Vapes1g = $40-$501g = $40-$581g = $501g = $34-$461g = $20-$40
*Store does not currently list 1g concentrates on their menu
**Prices from online menus on August 25, 2023 (may include daily sale price)

Is it worth the time?

Last, let’s discuss time out of your day. Running to your local dispensary will be quicker, but not all Ohioans have an Ohio Licensed Dispensary close to their home. There is also the issue of having time off from work to make the trip because you will need a third of your day blocked off.

The closest Michigan dispensaries are located in Morenci, Michigan

Average Drive Time to Morenci, Michigan (*Fastest Route Data retrieved from Google Maps August 25, 2023):

Cincinnati – 3 hours, 25 minutes

Columbus – 2 hours, 53 minutes

Cleveland – 2 hours, 15 minutes

Average Drive Time to the Nearest Ohio Dispensary: 15 to 25 minutes

Distance to Dispensaries

According to Jana Hrdinová, Administrative Director for OSU’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, the 2023 report found that, “a little bit over 90% of respondents lived within a 0-to-30-mile radius of a legal dispensary, while roughly 9% of respondents lived more than 30 miles away from the nearest dispensary”. Depending on city or highway driving, this could be anywhere from a 10 to a 90-minute roundtrip.

The average Ohio patient is using about a gallon of gas to get to the nearest dispensary, while some are using two or more gallons. The cost of driving to a local dispensary for roughly 90% of Ohioans can range from $3.52 to $15, depending on the location and size of their gas tank. 


Now let’s take the cheapest items we can get from one dispensary with the best miles per gallon possible and compare the total price (before tax).

Michigan (Ascend Cannabis)Ohio (Nar Reserve Columbus)
Flower$40 $65
Concentrates$15 $10
Edibles$6 $10
Gas (Round Trip)Cincinnati – $56.32
Columbus – $49.28
Cleveland – $42.24
Varies – $3.52 – $30
Time (Round Trip)Cincinnati – 6 hours, 50 minutes
Columbus – 5 hours, 46 minutes
Cleveland – 4 hours, 30 minutes
10 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the starting location
Totals:Products: $76
Sales Tax: 6%
Gas: $42-$57
Travel Time: 4.5-7 hours
Subtotal: $118-$133
Products: $105
Sales Tax: 7.5%
Gas: $3.52-$30
Travel Time: 10 minutes to 3 hours
Subtotal: $108.52-$138.52

Making Your Decision: Is it Worth It?

Some Ohioans still live nowhere near a dispensary, but there are new ones opening every day, for a total of 104 now open as of this writing. 

The total trip and cost of goods are comparable to that of Michigan, with substantially less travel time. The travel time to and from Michigan can be limiting, with some taking off work to make the trip. The loss of income from doing so is another factor that makes traveling to Michigan less worth it. 

All this being said, there are a few products in Michigan that are still significantly cheaper than what you can find in Ohio. Flower in Ohio is not much more than the flower in Michigan; however, edibles and vapes in Michigan typically are priced well below Ohio’s market. 

Patients have cited the expense difference particularly for sought-after processed products like RSO/FECO. ($17 at Ascend Michigan, $44 before discounts or sales at Nar Reserve Columbus.) Some cancer fighters who choose to use Rick Simpson’s protocol consume up to 1 g of product per day, the cost of which can be a significant barrier. 

Regardless of how many dollars you might save on the product itself, you can end up paying more in your time, loss of income, gas, and food (if needed). The trip also adds miles to your car and can add to the wear and tear of your vehicle. 

Legal Risk

And even if all of those factors don’t deter you, how about the felony drug-trafficking charge you risk catching from driving over the border? Where fines imposed by the State of Ohio can range from $200-$1,100, attorney fees for a first offense can range from $2,000-$5,000. 

At the end of the day, the trip is illegal and when everything is factored in, it really may not be saving you any money, so why risk it? Shop locally.


AAA gas prices. (n.d.).
Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maps and data. (2023).
Hrdinová, J. (2023). Ohio medical marijuana control program at five years: Evaluating satisfaction and perception. Ohio State University – Moritz College of Law. Drug Enforcement and Policy Center


  • Mary Alleger

    Daughter of a Vietnam veteran and single mom. I have been active in cannabis since 2013, starting as a volunteer signature gatherer for Ohio Rights Group and their Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment ballot initiative. I have stayed active in my Advocacy by working on different initiatives and helping others advocate at the Statehouse with our legislators. I have worked in the retail space of the industry since 2018 and just finished my first year at the University of Maryland Baltimore for the Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics Master of Science program.