Ohio medical marijuana companies in Ohio are calling for permission to expand cultivation facilities, asserting that market growth is being constrained. According to Columbus Business First, medical marijuana sales in the state reached a year-to-date total of $100 million, the largest total since legalization.
Despite the encouraging numbers, Ohio cannabis sales are still less than half of neighboring Pennsylvania, which has a similar population and launched its medical marijuana program about a year prior to Ohio in early 2018.
Cannabis executives in the state have cited long drive times for rural Ohioans and limited access points as an inhibitor to growth of marijuana sales. Though Ohio has passed some reform regarding purchase limits, without enough dispensaries and permission to expand, much of the potential medical market remains untapped.
With a recent increase in demand for medical marijuana products in Ohio, prices for cannabis products in the state have begun to price out potential customers. George Korff, founder of Galenas, a cannabis company based out of Ohio, has called for an increase in cultivation space (from 3,000 sq. feet to 9,000 sq. feet) and number of legal dispensaries, according to News 5 Cleveland. The state’s current allotment is set at 60.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy, which oversees the state's dispensaries, has said that it will need to evaluate the request for growth based on the state's population, the number of patients using medical marijuana, and geographical distribution of dispensary sites. The Board is said to be conducting surveys which include demographic questions, preferred product and product education, and dispensary experience before going forward with expansion.
Because the state does not currently have a formal submission and review process to approve expansion requests, there has been no timeline provided for possible reform.
Without permission to grow more cannabis products, companies are concerned that they will not be able to meet the new demand for products in time. If potential customers cannot afford their medicine, then many are expected to turn away from the industry as a potential solution to their ailments.
While there are no shortage of investors and entrepreneurs that are ready to expand the medical marijuana market in Ohio, legislative hold-ups are rendering further growth rates impossible at this time.