Ohio’s medical cannabis patients say cost is the greatest obstacle to purchasing products in the state, followed by the distance to the nearest dispensary, according to a survey conducted by Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement Policy Center and an advocacy group called Harm Reduction Ohio.
The third-highest barrier is obtaining a doctor’s recommendation to participate in the program, the survey revealed.
More than 600 of Ohio’s roughly 52,000 registered medical cannabis patients participated in the online survey, and nearly half indicated that they are “very dissatisfied” with the program, while less than 4 percent said they are “very satisfied.”
The survey was released earlier this month, and is one of the first attempts to gather feedback from patients about the program since the first dispensary opened in January, according to a report by The Columbus Dispatch.
Drug Enforcement Policy Center Director Doug Berman told the news outlet that he is concerned that these barriers will discourage patients and send some back to the illicit market.
“The illicit market is available 24 hours a day,” Berman told The Columbus Dispatch. “And you don’t have to worry about whether there is going to be a line. The dealer has a way of becoming convenient. Those are things folks who have used the illicit market have gotten used to, and it may be that inconvenience turns people away from [the legal program].”
However, Ohio’s medical cannabis program, still in its infancy, continues to grow—only 19 of the state’s current 30 dispensaries were open at the time the survey was conducted, The Columbus Dispatch reported, and the state has proposed a total of 56 dispensaries overall.