SANDUSKY (WTOL) - If anyone thinks that Ohio’s new marijuana industry is ushering in an retro era of tie-dyed, dope smoking stoners, you might want to think again.
There was no evidence of that being portrayed at the new medical marijuana dispensary that held a media preview in Sandusky on Friday.
The “Forest” as its called, actually looked more like a doctor’s office with a modern show room and display cases. The Forest is owned by Standard Wellness LLC which operates the cultivation farm and processing facility in Gibsonburg. The Forest is getting close to opening for business.
“We are thrilled to announce we are just days away from opening our doors to be able to serve patients in Ohio," said Eric Vaughn, CEO of Standard Wellness.
Vaughn stood behind the glass display cases that will eventually hold the medical marijuana in all its different forms when they are given the final okay from the state regulators.
They will be among the first to open in the state as the highly anticipated legalized pot sales get underway.
Vaughn said when they do get the do ahead later this month, they will only be selling marijuana flowers, or buds that can be used for vaping. The actual smoking of marijuana is still illegal under state law.
Users, or patients can consume the pot by either vaping, or in edible or lotion form. Vaughn said within a few months, they hope to have the infused product available from their facility in Gibsonburg.
As for who can purchase the marijuana, Vaughn said buyers will have to have a certification from a state sanctioned physician who has been approved to give out prescriptions.
Right now there are about 350 doctors certified in the state. About 15 of them are in Northwest Ohio. The registration of patients began in December and Vaughn said that number now stands at about 4,500 people in the state who have been approved to buy marijuana for a variety of ailments.
It is estimated that number could grow to some 200,000 within a couple of years, supplying a ready-to-buy customer base. And if Ohio is like other states that have legalized pot, whether medicinal or recreational, the projected sales are measured in the tens of millions of dollars, maybe more.
About 21 in all, mostly for chronic pain. Others are currently being considered.
Vaughn said the old stereotypes that some people may think of when they think of marijuana use no longer applies when it comes to medical marijuana.
“This is is not your stereotypical user that you think of, its your grandmother, your mother, your cousin, your child or your friends that are in pain and are looking for relief," said Vaughn.
Vaughn also states that the marijuana will be a new alternative to the use of opioids for pain and that in some states here pot in legal, he said the use of opioids is on the decline.
At this point the state regulations will limit sales to a single buyer to 90 days worth which amounts to four to six ounces of marijuana plant material depending on the THC content.
Vaughn said they will have about a dozen highly trained workers at the dispensary who have been trained to work with patients to help them purchase the right product that would be most helpful.
About 21 medical conditions in all are approved for marijuana treatment, mostly for chronic pain. Others are currently being considered.