Ohio Legalized the Use of Medical Marijuana. Project Spotlight: Dispensaries
In 2016 Ohio legalized the use of medical marijuana. We jumped in the ring and joined the party with 32 other US States who allowed pot to be used for either medical reasons, recreational use, or both.
This decision opened the door for Ohio patients with certain qualifying conditions to be able to buy marijuana legally from a licensed dispensary. But the law had restrictions. Marijuana could only be used in certain approved forms. Smoking was prohibited. But, it could be used in lotions, edibles or vaping devices for instance.
So, armed with the new pot playbook, the first dispensaries opened their doors in Cleveland in January of 2019. Why the 3 year delay you ask? Because the process was more complicated than just finding a location and hanging a sign.
3 Steps to Dispensing
Before Ohio could start dispensing, we had to grow the pot first. This required the construction of indoor “grow” facilities. The buildings were were enclosed and secure to ward off thieves. They were also set up with high tech lighting and mechanical systems to create the perfect environment for the plants to grow.
Once the plants were mature, they had to be harvested and the plant materials had to move onto a processing facility.
So, you guessed it. Processing facilities had to be built. The buildings had to be designed to pull double duty. The production areas turned the plants into oils, lotions and of the other legal forms. While the facility labs tested the each of the products for strength and purity. Only then could the products be shipped to the dispensaries for sale.
In the early days, because the the processors were not up and running, the first dispensaries were only able to sell dried flowers or “buds”.
Once the products were processed they were shipped to a licensed dispensary for sale. Dispensaries are set up with retail style displays to make choosing products easy. But you can only buy the product if you are an active medical marijuana patient. To qualify, you need a marijuana card from a State certified doctor. The Ohio Medical Board has a list of certified doctors on their website. Patients can view a map and be able to pick a doctor in their area.
Since Ohio legalized the use of medical marijuana, the need for local dispensaries has a grown. The number of stores open for business is still limited, but that is due to change. Kramer Engineers have designed the systems for a number of new growers, processors and dispensers that are now nearing the finish line. And new retail store fronts are opening throughout Ohio.