COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio medical marijuana regulators want to double the number of dispensary licenses in the state to satisfy patient demand, which has been much higher than anticipated since the program became operational.
Currently, there are 58 dispensaries throughout Ohio.
Ohio Board of Pharmacy staff are working on adding 73 new dispensary licenses, said Justin Sheridan, the board’s director of medical marijuana operations, at a Thursday cannabis discussion at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.
That could bring the total number of dispensaries in Ohio to 131 or 132 – depending on the outcome of a court case that could create a 59th dispensary from the first round of dispensary licenses.
When Ohio’s first dispensaries opened in January 2019, regulators projected 12,000 to 24,000 patients in the first two years. They arrived at the estimate after looking at patient demand in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York.
By February 2021, two years in, there were 136,507 registered patients. Today, there are 252,139.
In addition to more patients, some areas of the state have no dispensaries, including several rural areas in Northwestern and Western Ohio. In addition, some areas in southeastern Ohio only have one dispensary across several counties.
A 2020 study found that