Why is Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Market Pricey?

Medical Marijuana prescription

As marijuana remains a federally illegal substance, it is up to each state to determine whether to permit medical and recreational weed. To date, a significant majority of states have elected to create MMJ programs and allow the legal sale of the substance. A growing number have also taken the plunge and permitted recreational cannabis.

With each state going in its own direction, there are disparities between how to apply, qualifying medical conditions, and purchasing and possession limits. However, it is arguably the issue of price that confounds so many patients. How can the substance be $300 an ounce in one state and $500 in another?

Marijuana in Ohio has a reputation for being notoriously expensive, particularly in comparison with one of its neighbors, Michigan. This article investigates the marijuana market in Ohio, outlines some possible reasons for the high prices, and determines whether the price is too much.

An Early Issue

Complaints about expensive marijuana in Ohio go back to when legal MMJ sales began in 2019. At the time, consumers were upset that they had to pay a small fortune to get their medicine. On the first day of official marijuana sales in Ohio, dispensaries sold nearly nine pounds of weed at an average price of almost $540 per ounce.

There were several reasons for the high cost at that point in time. For instance, legal businesses had to comply with various regulations to ensure they were selling the highest quality products. This included tracking each plant and ensuring that products contained below the threshold for pesticides. 

In Ohio, each product is tested by a third-party state-licensed laboratory. When the MMJ program began, only two were available, leading to delays. 

If this wasn’t enough, businesses also pay high taxes, and since cannabis remains federally illegal, they don’t benefit from tax deductions like companies in other industries. 

Apart from regulations, there wasn’t enough marijuana in Ohio to cope with the initial demand. While the state’s program provided cultivation licenses to 29 businesses, only 14 were fully approved in 2019. 

Therefore, anyone who got their Ohio MMJ card online faced high prices once legal sales began. So, have things changed? Let’s take a look.

What Are Prices Like Now?

Marijuana in Ohio is no longer as expensive as it once was. In 2020, the Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center released a survey claiming that MMJ in Ohio cost $18 per gram on average. This was $7 per gram higher than the figures provided by the Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association.

Eventually, after complaints from the Association, the policy center released new figures, suggesting that the price was $11 per gram. Yet, manufactured products, such as capsules and gummies, cost the equivalent of $46 per gram.

Fast forward to October 2022, and an annual report released by The Ohio State University had some interesting findings. First, it discovered that a majority of patients were satisfied with the medical marijuana program in Ohio for the first time.

Even so, prices remained a sticking point. But there is every chance that MMJ patients are focusing too much on the plummeting cost of weed in Michigan. One of the reasons why prices are dropping so low in Michigan is because the state doesn’t cap the number of licenses. By contrast, Ohio has a cap in place, so its supply will remain lower than in MI.

The report found that marijuana cost $8.99 per gram in Ohio, compared to just $3.91 in Michigan. However, the cost of marijuana in Ohio had fallen steadily each month since July 2021, when it was $10.85 per gram. Moreover, in Pennsylvania, another neighboring state, the cost was $11.69, $2.70 more expensive than in Ohio.

So, Is Ohio’s Marijuana Really That Expensive?

There’s no question that marijuana in Ohio was prohibitively expensive when legal sales began. However, the price has dropped significantly in the last four years and is now comparable to that of other states.

MMJ patients in Ohio may elect to travel to get cheaper weed in Michigan. However, please note that you can’t bring it across state lines as this action is against federal law. You may end up with cheaper products, but if caught and arrested, the overall cost will prove extremely high!