Ohio sold $330,000 of medicinal marijuana in 12 days.
According to the Marijuana Business Daily, that’s almost double the sales rate of, both, Hawaii and Massachusetts when they legalized the drug. These strong numbers are made all the more impressive by the fact that Ohio marijuana prices are almost five times more expensive than if bought illegally and that only four locations are currently open and selling in Ohio. While it’s too early to say what is driving these strong numbers, Ohio’s complicated relationship with other drugs might be a major motivating factor.
Of Ohio, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, Ohio, by far, has the highest opioid prescription rate as well as the highest opioid overdose death rate. While many Ohioans may be concerned that marijuana legalization is simply victims of drug addiction switching from one drug to another, it actually has positive implications for the future of the Buckeye State.
Marijuana use does carry side effects, however, these effects are far less severe than opioid abuse. Furthermore, a heroin user is 19 times more likely to have started out by abusing an opioid prescription. Marijuana is somewhat more complicated. While historically it has been considered a “gateway drug,” new reports and insights reveal that the link between marijuana and harder drugs remains, at best, “unclear.”
The future of marijuana will be decided in Ohio. Of all the states that currently have legalized medicinal marijuana, Ohio has the highest opioid addiction, prescription, and death rates. Should opioid use decline over the coming years and patients prescribed medicinal marijuana not move to more severe drugs, this could mean that medicinal marijuana is, not only useful but essential in overcoming the opioid epidemic.
However, should marijuana users move to harder substances and opioid use rises, the state government could be directly responsible for the proliferation of an entire new generation of drug abusers.
The Ohio marijuana sales report was provided by the Ohio Marijuana Control Program, which oversees the drug’s distribution throughout the state. They will continue to provide weekly sales report until April 1st when they will switch to monthly reports. The will also continue to report prescription numbers on a monthly basis.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].