Ascend, a leading cannabis company in the US, has announced the opening of its fourth medical cannabis dispensary in Ohio. The new store, located in Sandusky, is the first cannabis outlet in the city and the 60th in the state.
Ascend’s Expansion in Ohio
Ascend is a vertically integrated cannabis company that operates in multiple states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. The company aims to provide high-quality cannabis products and services to medical and adult-use customers, with a focus on customer education and experience.
In Ohio, Ascend operates two cultivation facilities and four dispensaries, under the brand name of Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH). The company’s first dispensary in the state opened in Coshocton in November 2020, followed by another one in Carroll in December 2020. The third dispensary opened in Columbus in March 2021, and the fourth one in Sandusky in December 2021.
The new Sandusky dispensary is located at 6019 Milan Road, near the Cedar Point amusement park. The store offers a wide range of cannabis products, including flower, edibles, concentrates, vapes, topicals, and accessories. Customers can order online for pick-up or visit the store in person. The store is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Ohio’s Medical Cannabis Program
Ohio legalized medical cannabis in 2016, with the first sales starting in 2019. The state’s medical cannabis program is regulated by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP), which oversees the licensing and operation of cultivators, processors, testing labs, dispensaries, and physicians.
According to the OMMCP, there are currently 60 dispensaries, 34 cultivators, 48 processors, and five testing labs operating in the state. The program also has over 220,000 registered patients and 700 certified physicians, as of November 2021.
The qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Ohio include chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. Patients can purchase up to a 90-day supply of cannabis products, with a limit of 8 ounces of flower, 26.55 grams of THC in oil, or 9.9 grams of THC in other forms.
The Future of Cannabis in Ohio
While Ohio has a robust medical cannabis market, the state has not yet legalized cannabis for adult use. However, there have been several attempts to change the status quo, both through legislative and ballot initiatives.
In 2015, Ohio voters rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational cannabis, but also granted a monopoly to a group of investors who funded the campaign. In 2019, a group of activists filed a petition to put a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot, but failed to gather enough signatures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, two bipartisan bills were introduced in the Ohio legislature, one to legalize recreational cannabis and one to decriminalize it. Both bills are still pending in the House and Senate committees, and face opposition from some lawmakers and groups, such as the Ohio Medical Association and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
However, there is also growing public support for cannabis reform in Ohio, as well as in the neighboring states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, which have already legalized or are considering legalizing recreational cannabis. According to a 2020 poll by Baldwin Wallace University, 58% of Ohioans support legalizing cannabis for personal use, while 35% oppose it.
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and expand in the US, Ohio may soon join the ranks of the states that have embraced the benefits of cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. Until then, companies like Ascend are providing access and education to the patients who need it the most.