Patient satisfaction with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP), which recently hit $1 billion in sales, seems to be improving, according to a recent report from The Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and the OMMCP. The report, “Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program at Four Years: Evaluating Satisfaction and Perception,” surveyed more than 2,500 people and found, for the first time in the history of the four-year report, more respondents are satisfied with the state’s medical program than not.

“For the first time in four years, patients and prospective patients of the [OMMCP], have expressed higher levels of satisfaction than dissatisfaction suggesting that as OMMCP matured, Ohio has successfully improved its existing program to garner a growing level of general satisfaction,” the report states.

© SourceOhio Medical Marijuana Control Program at Four Years: Evaluating Satisfaction and Perception

While patients were generally satisfied with product safety, patient experience and dispensary access, participants noted concerns over pricing and protections for employees using medical cannabis.  

When ranking a series of statements on a scale, more than 50% of survey participants responded “Strongly Agree” to the following: “I trust the safety or products available in legal dispensaries,” “Dispensary employees support a positive patient experience in the purchasing of medical marijuana products” and “Legal dispensaries make medical marijuana easily accessible for me.”

However, more than 50% of survey participants also agreed with the statements “The price of marijuana in legal dispensaries is too high,” “Patients are not given legal protections for employment” and “Self-cultivation is not permitted (home grow).”

The number of active patients in the program increased 44% from 107,134 to 154,614 between August 2021 and August 2022, according to the report. However, according to the OMMCP, there are 278,902 unique patients who have purchased cannabis during the life of the program, which launched in January 2019, suggesting that not all are renewing their medical cards. Patients must update their medical cards yearly by getting a new recommendation from an approved provider and paying a fee.

The number of physicians certified to recommend cannabis has been relatively stable, with 647 in the program, according to OMMCP data, but may not be adequate when considering Ohio’s population of nearly 12 million residents. 

“The state of Ohio now has [5.5] physicians with a certificate to recommend per 100,000 residents, which represents the lowest rate among all states that have legalized medical marijuana within two years of the state of Ohio and raises concerns about patients’ access and creation of ‘marijuana doctors,’” the report states.

A majority of survey participants are satisfied with their current options of having medical appointments for medical cards, curbside pickup and online ordering. A majority of participants would be more satisfied with the program if the following were permitted: home deliveries, home grows, allowance of greater discretion in physician recommendations, and legal protections for patients regarding employment, housing and firearms.

On the pricing side of the equation, the average monthly price of plant product in Ohio has decreased from $16.95 per gram in February 2019 to $8.99 per gram in July 2022, according to the report. Still, prices in neighboring Michigan have also decreased over time, hitting $3.91 per gram in July 2022.

The report states: “If averaged over the 13 months, an Ohio patient paid $4.08 more per gram of plant product in an Ohio dispensary than a Michigan resident in a Michigan dispensary, and $3.57 less per gram than a marijuana medical patient in Pennsylvania.”

Ohio has collected more than $132 million in revenue since the program launched in January 2019, and the OMMCP recently reported that the state hit $1 billion in sales.

 

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