It’s flown a bit under the radar, but the medical marijuana business in Ohio is moving ahead, slowly but surely. The Ohio State Medical Board has been meeting to determine which conditions can properly be the subject of a medical marijuana recommendation. People have been registering to participate in the program. Medical marijuana dispensaries are open and operating, and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has been issuing licenses to dispensary employees. And new jobs have been created, too.
Let’s start with the jobs. One website looked at reports from the Ohio Department of Commerce and other state regulators and determined that, in the year since medical marijuana dispensaries first opened, 4,275 new jobs have been created. That number includes 951 state-licensed dispensary employees, as well as 1,686 people working for cultivators, testing labs, and processors.
There are now 49 regulated medical marijuana dispensaries found at different locations across the state, including a number in Columbus. (If you are over 21, you can see the list here.). More than 70,000 Ohioans are registered with the state’s medical marijuana program, and the average person who uses the products is more than 55 years old. Many apparently use the products to deal with chronic pain. Reports indicate that nearly 56,000 Ohioans have bought more than $50 million in medical marijuana products at the dispensaries, and prices have come down as more dispensaries open and more product becomes available.
In the meantime, the State Medical Board has been meeting to consider the conditions that may appropriately qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor. Only this week, the Medical Board denied a request by long-suffering fans of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals to qualify their fanship as a disease that can be treated with marijuana to ease the pain of constant losses, but also voted to move anxiety and autism forward as potentially qualifying conditions.
Ohio tends to be a cautious place, and it took a cautious approach to medical marijuana. So far, at least, the cautious approach seems to be working.