First dispensaries in state ready to sell medical marijuana

    Ohioans were lined up out the door as The Forest prepared to open its doors Wednesday morning Jan. 16, 2019. (WSYX/WTTE)

    The first Ohio sales of medical marijuana are being made with the opening of four dispensaries in the state.

    Fifty-six-year-old Joan Caleodis was the first customer to buy cannabis Wednesday morning at the CY+ Dispensary in Wintersville near Steubenville in eastern Ohio. Caleodis, of Martin's Ferry, received a doctor's recommendation for medical cannabis to treat primary progressive multiple sclerosis and bought $200 worth of flower she plans to use in a vape pen.

    Caleodis said in a phone interview the opening of dispensaries is a "big win" for Ohio patients.

    In Sandusky, Ynez Henningsen was the first patient to get medical marijuana at The Forest.

    “I feel like this is a game-changer, not just for me, but for all of Ohio patients," Henningsen said shortly after buying her first prescription of medical marijuana. "Now for the first time in this state you can purchase cannabis and know exactly what you’re getting.”

    Henningsen said she was hoping medical cannabis would do a better job treating her multiple sclerosis than traditional pharmaceuticals.

    “I’ve never used cannabis myself," she said. "I have friends with multiple sclerosis who have reported when they started using Cannabis they were able to get a great deal of relief from pain, nerve pain we experience.”

    Patients lined up starting before 5 a.m. to be one of the first to buy medical marijuana.

    Only plant materials are being sold for now. Products like edibles, tinctures and lotions won't become available until cannabis processing facilities are operational.

    People can buy medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation for one of 21 qualifying medical conditions. More could be added later. State officials held public hearings this month to consider six more conditions which could be added.

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