How Ohio's security regulations impact a patient's experience at a medical marijuana dispensary

Clubhouse Dispensary
Clubhouse Dispensary
Clubhouse Dispensary
Posted at 10:55 AM, Dec 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-24 17:51:33-05

ELYRIA, Ohio — The open floor plan with marble top tables makes you think more of a big retail space. Clubhouse Dispensary General Manger says that's on purpose.

"We wanted plenty of space for patients to be able to ask us questions and learn and get what they need," said Greenberg.

Clubhouse Dispensary
Strict rules govern where medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to be built and who is allowed inside. Now that the program is up and running, people who aren't patients or cannabis industry employees aren't allowed inside active dispensaries.

The building is in Elyria, just a short drive from downtown Cleveland. But no one will be allowed into the waiting area or into the room where the medical marijuana will be displayed if they aren't an employee, patient, or caregiver on the Ohio's Medical Marijuana Registry.

It's all part of the state's oversight regulations

  • Dispensary employees re-licensed based on their positions
  • No sales can be made online
  • Dispensaries have to be at least 500 feet from a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider
  • 24/7 video feed access to state officials in all medical marijuana buildings

"A patient that comes in here, they're going to be escorted everywhere," said Greenberg.

Clubhouse Dispensary
Kayla Greenberg stands behind one of the display tables that will eventually hold large glass cases with medical marijuana products inside.

The program was first scheduled to go live on Sept. 8. Various delays have pushed the programs start back indefinitely while businesses at all four parts of the medical marijuana program wait for inspections and approvals.

As of Dec. 19, only 14 of the 27 cultivators with provisional licenses are allowed to grow marijuana. None of the 14 processors with provisional licenses have permission to turn marijuana into medical products. Only one dispensary is approved to sell medical marijuana to patients. On Dec. 20, the first lab got approval to test the medical marijuana before it is sent to dispensaries.

Once the medical marijuana gets to dispensaries, limited material will be available for vaping at first through a select few cultivators who successfully got plant-only processing licenses.

Clubhouse Dispensary
These glass cases will display Clubhouse Dispensary's choice of medical marijuana products for patients and caregivers.

Even when medical marijuana hits the market, the state and Greenberg say there won't be much product available and whatever is sold will sell out fast at first before the rest of the market catches up.

"As it gets more popular, as more knowledge gets out there about how you obtain your card and the qualifying ailments for medical marijuana, it's only going to grow," said Greenberg.

She says the wait is worth it to help better serve her home state.

"Especially with the opioid crisis in Ohio, it's a great feeling to be able to help people get off their prescriptions if they choose," said Greenberg.

Clubhouse Dispensary says they're expected to get their final approval in January and open up soon after.