The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has released a new proposal that could potentially lead to 18 medical marijuana dispensaries placed in Northeast Ohio, with five of them being located in Cuyahoga County.
The Board of Pharmacy is responsible for determining the dispensary locations, which in addition to the five in Cuyahoga County include three in nearby Summit County.
More rural and less populated counties would be sharing dispensary locations with their neighbors. For instance, three dispensaries would be shared by Medina, Lorain, Wayne and Holmes counties. Tuscarawas, Carroll, Stark and Columbiana Counties would also share three dispensaries. Another three dispensaries would be shared by Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties. Finally, Lake, Portage, and Geauga counties would split one dispensary for all of their medical marijuana needs.
One major concern for potential medical marijuana users is the travel distance to dispensaries if they live outside of populous Summit or Cuyahoga County. Susan Hudson, who will seek access to medical marijuana, told News 5 Cleveland
, “having a dispensary in every county is so crucial because many of these patients are in wheelchairs and can’t drive."
The location of the dispensaries was determined by analyzing other states with medical marijuana programs as well as "patient populations, consultation with regulators in other states, Ohio’s population, existing compliance resources for the state board of pharmacy and access to major Ohio roadways," according to News 5 Cleveland.
Medical marijuana is still a new concept in Ohio, and while the law is
in effect the specific policies surrounding it are constantly changing
. Last month the program expanded its capacity to $11 million
, receiving $5 million from the state budget and on top of the Board of Pharmacy requesting another $5.6 million. The money is intended to help cover legal costs, create a regimented tracking database and set up a toll-free tip hotline.
As for the dispensary draft, the Board of Pharmacy is taking public opinion into consideration until Aug. 11. Comments and concerns can be emailed to MMCPRules@Pharmacy.Ohio.gov.