FILE - Medical Marijuana Ohio 1-28-2019

Marijuana plants grow Jan. 28, 2019, at AT-Calyx Peak Companies of Ohio in Akron, Ohio.

At least 30,284 Ohioans are purchasing medical marijuana after initial delays, according to numbers released by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. This accounts for more than half of the state’s 53,082 registered medical marijuana patients.

Medical marijuana purchases became available mid-January after the state pushed back the start time because of delays with licensing. Although the program is now up and running, the state has still not granted about 75 certificates of operation to facilities in the medical marijuana industry that already have provisional licenses.

Fewer than half of the state’s dispensaries that have provisional licenses have received their certificates of operation: 26 of 56. The lack of dispensaries is causing difficulty for rural patients who do not live near any of the operating dispensaries.

Processors are having an even harder time getting their certificates to operate with less than one-fourth receiving the approval: eight out of 40.

Cultivators and testing facilities are performing better, but still have people waiting. Nine out of the 17 Level I provisional licensees for cultivators have received their certificates of operation as well as nine of the 13 Level II provisional licensees. Three out of the five provisional licensees have received their certificates of operation.

Some of these current delays could be due to several different reasons, such as problems with the paperwork for the state or with difficulties getting approval with municipal governments.

According to the numbers, 3,432 patients have veteran status, 2,042 patients have indigent status and 271 patients have a terminal diagnosis. There are nearly 4,000 registered caregivers.

More than 20 conditions qualify a person for receiving medical marijuana if prescribed by a physician, and the State Medical Board of Ohio is considering adding anxiety and autism. The board declined to add insomnia, depression and opioid use and addiction earlier this year. Patients can petition the state to consider making other conditions eligible.

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.