High prices keep many Ohioans out of legal cannabis market

As Ohio’s medical marijuana industry finally takes off, some patients and advocates are griping about costs that put it out of reach for many people.

A steep price tag stems partly from the lack of competition, as Ohio only has seven dispensaries spread throughout the state, mostly in rural areas, experts said. Costs are expected to drop as more dispensaries open and the industry finds its footing.

In the meantime, patients openly acknowledge buying the drug on the black market while they wait for prices to come down. And without insurance to cover the expense, some worry that low-income people might never be able to afford medical cannabis.

The illegality of marijuana at the federal level hampers research into the drug’s medicinal qualities, but limited studies have made some doctors cautiously optimistic about the health benefits, even as they acknowledge more study is needed.

Several local patients said using marijuana has improved their quality of life, but they must stretch their budgets to pay for it or buy it on the street. [Read more at The Columbus Dispatch]