HomeNewsOhio Slashes Medical Marijuana Program Fees

Ohio Slashes Medical Marijuana Program Fees

Ohio’s Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) has dropped patient and caregiver registration fees from $50 and $25 respectively annually to just one cent.

The reduced fee applies to all patients and caregivers for both new registrations and renewals since March 4, 2024. But with the fee dropped to one cent, why bother charging at all? It seems the DCC is happy to abolish these fees and has submitted a rule proposal to the Common Sense Initiative to eliminate them altogether – but technology has created a challenge.

“The Division is working with its software vendor to remove the fee from the Medical Marijuana Patient & Caregiver Registry (“registry”) as soon as the technological changes can be made,” said the DCC in a recent program update.

The decision to eliminate fees follows the state’s voters approving Issue 2 on the November 7, 2023 ballot that legalizes possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and .5 ounces of concentrate for adults 21 and over.

As states legalise adult use cannabis, their medicinal programs tend to suffer as patients abandon them to access products on the recreational market. But the DCC is encouraging patients to stay with the program. Among the reasons is it “ensures the patient is speaking with a physician about their qualifying condition and maintains access to medical marijuana at current operational medical marijuana dispensaries.”

The DCC also points out medical marijuana sales are exempt from the 10% excise tax levied on non-medical sales, and discounts may be available at dispensaries for registered patients that are not otherwise available to other patients.

As at the end of last year, there were 163,339 patients in Ohio with both an active registration and an active recommendation.

Ohio was 25th US state to legalize medicinal marijuana. In November 2015, Ohio residents voted favorably on an amendment to permit its use for treating certain conditions. Legislation narrowly cleared the Senate in May 2016, which was signed into law by then-Governor John Kasich. But it wasn’t until early 2019 that the first medical marijuana sales occurred.

On a related note, another state to recently slash registration and renewal fees for patients and their caregivers was New Jersey, where they are now just $10 for two years – down from as much as $50 a year. Registrations and renewals had dropped off significantly and rapidly after licensed recreational sales of cannabis began in April 2022.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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