The Miami Valley’s first medical marijuana dispensary held its grand opening Thursday. Mad River Remedies in Riverside offers 20 types of medical marijuana to registered patients with one of 21 state-approved medical conditions.
Riverside Mayor Bill Flaute was on hand for the ribbon cutting. He dismissed concerns about people abusing medial marijuana.
“It’s not about abuse,” Flaute says. “It’s about using it correctly and making people feel better when they’re in a lot of pain.”
Lisa Scales was one of the shop's first customers and says she’s relieved to have a dispensary open in the Dayton area.
She says she’s tried a lot of other drugs for her migraines and other chronic pain issues, but says marijuana is the only thing that helps relieve her pain.
“I want to cry when I say it but I used to walk out with a bag full of fentanyl and other narcotics,” Scales says. “God love the doctor. He thought he was helping me but in the end I didn’t feel like I was being helped. Now, I feel like I can help myself.”
While a dispensary may be good news for patients in the Miami Valley, some other parts of Ohio are still waiting.
The state approved 56 locations for medical marijuana sales, but fewer than 20 have opened so far.
The processes involved in meeting state regulations may be one stumbling block.
Jay Joshi, Chief Pharmacist at Mad River Remedies, says his company installed, “the most robust security system.”
The cameras are monitored not just by Mad Rivier Remedies, but also by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
And all of Mad River’s locks are biometric. Customers can’t go into the room with the product unless they have a medical-marijuana card issued by the state, and the facility is also required to report all sales to the state within a few minutes.
Slow industry growth also means that sales haven’t been as high as some expected.
Ohio has sold around $10 million in medical marijuana in the first half of 2019.
Oklahoma, a state roughly a third of the size of Ohio, sold $23 million of medical marijuana in May.
It’s also notable that marijuana prices are sometimes half as much in nearby states, such as Michigan.
With a day’s supply of medical marijuana running between $30 and $50 in the Miami Valley, a roadtrip may be tempting for some medical marijuana patients.
There are some surprising rules in Ohio, too.
While dried medical marijuana can be bought, it’s not legal to smoke it. It’s supposed to be vaporized, ingested, or taken sublingually.
Some employees at Riverside's new dispensary say Ohio’s medical marijuana industry is experiencing some growing pains, but they hope it’s only a matter of time until the smoke clears and the money starts rolling in.