The Ohio Board of Pharmacy updated the media and public today on figures and proposed changes to the state’s medical marijuana program. In addition to releasing the current patient numbers and revenue statistics, today’s Advisory Committee meeting also clarified and proposed several rule amendments to the program, which will be voted on next month.

“Right now we’re seeing a little more than over 2 million in product sales per month,” reported Greg McIlvaine, who was hired in June 2019 to replace Mark Hamlin as policy advisor for the Ohio Department of Commerce, which regulates the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) cultivators, processors, and testing labs.

“Of importance to patients,” McIlvaine continued, “When the average cost of plant products has dropped from $48 on average per unit to $33 average per unit citizens sales in January and the average cost of manufacturing product has dropped significantly from $100 average per unit to $51 average per unit since those products have been available since April.” However, numbers remain lacking as McIlvaine was unable to point to any known statistics of what the average cost is for a patient in Ohio to get treatment with marijuana.

The Pharmacy Board’s Patient Advocate Representative Chris Stock, who was also hired in June, further echoed patients’ concerns about the high prices of products and the safety of devices like vapes, he also hit on a key issue that remains to be solved—how do Ohioans work with their employers to treat their diseases with marijuana without losing their jobs? This question was posed to the committee for further exploration.

Patients Numbers Up

While the patient numbers continue to creep steadily toward 75,000 patient cardholders, other states have comparatively grown their medical programs much more rapidly. State medical board director Stephanie M. Loucka pointed out in today’s meeting that we should be cautious to compare Ohio’s patient numbers to other states where the qualifications to get a card are different. She further mentioned that Illinois also saw smaller patient numbers through the first year of its medical program, but they have since grown steadily.

Loucka also reported on clarifications and proposed amendments that were collected to better guide dispensaries in their rules and regulations, including an amendment that would allow dispensaries to provide non-childproof containers for those who request them (presumably for those with dexterity issues) and another amendment would requiring a universal symbol on all edible products sold in Ohio containing THC to alert consumers that it contains marijuana.

Under the newly announced amendments, dispensaries will also have further clarification in how to accept returns from patients who don’t receive the product they paid for, if it is unsatisfactory, or who have purchased a product that is recalled. The full list of amendments for draft dispensary rules is available at medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/rules