2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

In the 2021 legislative session, Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill that is the state’s first effort to legalize cannabis for all adults over 21. The bill is unlikely to clear the hurdle posed by the GOP lead house; but activists and industry stakeholders are not leaving it up to legislators. Instead, a petition has been submitted to the state requesting that a measure to legalize cannabis for all adults be placed on the 2021 ballot. Though things have not changed at the moment, Ohio’s regulators are considering the licensing of up to 100 new dispensaries to better serve patients’ needs across the state. As it stands with only 58 active retail locations and over 200,000 patients, Ohio has one of the worst patient-to-retail ratios in the country leaving some patients with commutes of over 100 miles.

Ohio saw the most modest growth among all states that didn’t lose patients overall. With just a net of 311 added patient registrations over some 125,000 existing patients, the growth was hardly noticeable compared to what many states experienced during the COVID pandemic.

The Statewide declaration of emergency on COVID ended in June 2020, three months later the Board of Pharmacy voted to remove the emergency measures for cannabis telehealth recommendations and enforce in person visits again. Just another month later, this decision was reversed in favor of extending telehealth coverage through at least December 2021. When December came, the Board of Pharmacy voted to increase the 90-day allotment of cannabis to 9 ounces of dried flower. The new rules will throw out the previous convoluted and confusing rules which assigned allotment values to products based on THC content.

In 2022, ASA recommends that Ohio lawmakers address the shortcomings in their program. This would include protecting employment for patients, and allowing for homegrow, reciprocity for out of state patients, and delivery.