Getting high on legal cannabis is no longer a pipe dream for Ohio residents if they have one of the 21 qualifying medical conditions.
Dispensaries and clinics are slowly opening their doors across the state as legal entities running them rush to satisfy state regulations. The city of Bowling Green will soon be the first and only site for a legal cannabis dispensary in Wood County.
“The name of the dispensary and our web properties will be ‘Soothe’ and right now we are in the hiring and training stage. However, we plan to open no later than April 15,” Soothe dispensary owner Mark Jacobs said.
The Soothe building is currently in the construction phase at 1155 N. Main St. Visitors may inquire about medicinal benefits of cannabis at the front desk in the lobby, but only state-approved patients and staff will be allowed to enter the dispensary portion of the building.
Ohio is a non-combustion cannabis state, which means dispensaries are only allowed to sell vaporizing oils, ointments, tinctures and consumables. Under the state law, all cannabis products are grown and processed in Ohio, where the department of commerce regulates them.
Jacobs hopes that the dispensary will bring in people from other parts of the state who do not have access to one. He is optimistic that his future customers will visit other Bowling Green businesses, and that the effect will positively contribute to local commerce.
Patients will be able to buy 90 days worth of cannabis medication. The prices may be more expensive compared to other legal states due to strict packaging and product regulations that are required by the state pharmacy board.
“Customers will need to either bring cash or use our automated teller machine to get cash out for their purchases,” Jacobs said. “At this time, most dispensaries will not have credit card technology installed on the premises.”
Jacobs stressed that Soothe will be well regulated and compliant with Ohio law at all times, due in part to staff members receiving training on a variety of different topics including patient care, cannabis education and state law procedures.
Interested persons will first need to obtain a spot on the state registry, along with a printable license of authentication. Omni Medical Services offers clinics in Toledo, Bowling Green and Sandusky that specialize in prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients.
Starting on March 2, Omni Medical Services will be operating one Saturday a month in Bowling Green for three to four hours, or more depending on demand, Omni Medical Services co-founder David Koyle said.
According to Koyle, a visit typically lasts no longer than 30 minutes and costs $250 for new visitors. Since legal cannabis licenses are valid for the length of one year, returning customers to the Bowling Green clinic will be offered a discounted rate of $175.
“We try to educate our patients by encouraging them to keep a small journal of their cannabis consumption, so they can record what strain of cannabis and consumption form interacts best with their bodies,” Koyle said. “We also offer a cotton swab genetic test for a fee of $250, which will take the guess work out for patients and give them a better idea of what kind of cannabis is chemically compatible with their DNA.”
The presence of a clinic and a dispensary is on the radar for the Bowling Green City Police Department.
“Officers are attending classes regarding medical marijuana, some throughout the state and in Bowling Green through an outside agency,” Lt. Daniel Mancuso said. “Our officers are trained in detecting someone who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and we have had no discussions on monitoring legal cannabis thus far.”
Mancuso said that the department plans on recognizing when the drug use has “a criminal nature” and the Ohio Pharmacy Board will monitor future cannabis cases. He anticipates in the future that all officers will be required to attend mandatory training involving knowledge of legal cannabis.