Frustrated by the sluggish pace of Ohio’s medical cannabis program, a growing number of advocates and patients are calling for the state to allow medical marijuana users to grow cannabis in their homes.
Advocates claim that products sold in the market are low quality and unreasonably priced, and feel that the right to grow cannabis at home would solve so many problems that medical cannabis users are currently facing.
Julie Doran, the spokeswoman of Ohio Hemp Farmers’ Cooperative, feels that Ohio’s medical marijuana program is no secret a failing program. The cooperative proposed legislation that allows small amounts of marijuana for Ohioans’ aged 21 years and above, and the right to grow limited cannabis plants. Another proposal outlines cannabis decriminalization, and as well includes a marijuana home-grow provision.
Legislators expressed their concerns about the proposals earlier in July, including worries like the potential rise in intoxicated driving.
Tim Johnson, the co-founder of the advocacy group Ohio Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, said that activists are confident that the public opinion supports them.
Although medical cannabis prices have dropped since January when the first dispensary was opened, a good number of users claim that they still cannot afford the products as the lowest price for a one day supply is about $30.
According to Robin Ann Morris, Ohio’s program is not a true medical marijuana program but a recreational cannabis program in disguise for only the people who have the means and money to get it. Robin Ann runs the We Grow Ohio Facebook page, a page dedicated to home growth.
Industry insiders attribute the high medical cannabis cost to the slow speed of dispensary openings. Since the first dispensary of the state opened, only 18 extra dispensaries have been given operating licenses. 56 have provisional permits.
Amy Camden 42, visited a cannabis cultivator earlier in the year and posted photos on social media. Camden felt that people were not impressed with the photos. Friends and fellow cannabis users said that they noted unsanitary practices.
Patients have also raised concerns about finding seeds in flower, which they term as a sign of low-quality produce.
Alex Young, a Hilliard medical cannabis patient, pointed out that cultivators in Ohio are entitled to grow plants with the controversial Neem oil. Neem oil has been approved by the FDA as a safe pesticide, but advocates say that they dot trust the endorsement by the agency, claiming that its consumption is toxic. While it is not clear whether Ohio cultivators use Neem oil, Young said that patients have the right to know what is used to grow the products they use.
According to Young, people should be allowed to grow their own cannabis since, by this, they will be able to know what goes into their medicine.
Industry representatives said that there is a long process that sees to it that medical cannabis is effective and safe.
Thomas Rosenberger. Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivator’s Associate Director said that each batch of cannabis grown in Ohio is inspected before hitting a dispensary shelf. Rosenberger went on to say that before cultivators can start growing, they should submit an application with solid growing plans and go through inspections to demonstrate that they are living up to the promises made.