A new study found that Ohio medical marijuana patients are paying twice as much for their medical cannabis compared with the illicit market.
A new study from the Ohio State University's Drug Enforcement and Policy Center found that a majority of Ohio residents are either "somewhat dissatisfied" or "extremely dissatisfied" with the State's current medical marijuana program.
The Center polled roughly 400 Ohio citizens that were either currently registered as medical marijuana patients, or eligible to become a patient for the medical marijuana program.
The study found that despite an increase in cannabis dispensaries in Ohio since the state legalized medical marijuana in 2016, medical marijuana prices didn't substantially drop.
The study reports that in 2019, the average price for a gram of legal marijuana in Ohio was $18.47. In 2020, the average price of marijuana had marginally dropped to an average of $18.18. While prices are slowly decreasing, they are still more than double what cannabis users can expect to pay on the illicit market, with the average price of street marijuana sitting at $8.42.
The author of the study, Jana Hrdinová, commented on the persistently high costs of cannabis medicines in Ohio:
"The price in Ohio is double what it is on the illicit market and it's even double what it is in some other states, like Michigan. In two years the price hasn't changed much, despite the fact that the number of dispensaries has increased dramatically."
The same survey was carried out last year, to give an idea of the trajectory of Ohio's medical marijuana program, and in order to gauge how respondents and patients felt with each year that passed.
On a positive note, the number of "somewhat satisfied" patients nearly doubled from 13.3% to 23.9%, and the number of "extremely dissatisfied" patients dropped from 48% to 30.2%.
"If you ask people whether they would prefer to buy from legal sources, people are not generally unwilling to become customers of legal dispensaries. What's preventing them from doing so is the illegality on the federal level and the high price," Hrdinová stated. "I think the take away should be, if medical dispensaries could lower the price of the product, they might see a bigger influx of patients."
"Even people who might benefit and might want to use, they're not doing so because of fears," Hrdinová said.
Pegram said he sees the stigma around medical marijuana lessening over time. Pegram said the coronavirus pandemic helped legitimize the new industry because it was deemed essential.
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