The license fee for medical-marijuana dispensaries would be $80,000 every two years under rules the Ohio board of pharmacy announced last month. That’s high. The board should try to lower it.
The figure sounds shocking, especially next to the $150 annual fee for a pharmacy license that includes permission to sell opioids. (Both pharmacies and dispensaries must employ licensed individuals too.) And Marijuana Policy Project policy counsel Chris Lindsey said the costs a dispensary must pay for its license will be passed on to medical-marijuana patients as part of the price of their medicine.
An MPP list of state license fees for dispensaries shows that while $80,000 every two years would put Ohio among the more expensive states in which to get a dispensary license, there are states that charge more. For example, Massachusetts charges $50,000 for just one year — and a Massachusetts government website lists nine approved dispensaries.
Still, depending on how many doses a cultivator or dispensary sells, recovering its licensing fees may make medical marijuana expensive. Some patients may not be able to afford it, especially if they’re in bad financial shape already because of medical bills or lost income resulting from the same condition they need the drug for. And the point of having a medical-marijuana program is for patients to be able to use it.
So the fees should be as low as feasible. The dispensary fee could be lowered by adding more dispensaries to share the costs of running the program, which would also improve access.
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