Customers lined up as early as 6 a.m. for the opening of Columbus’ first medical marijuana dispensary Tuesday morning. Terrasana on Grandview Avenue is the 10th dispensary operating in the state.
Bonnie Lewis joined in the line, which led out of the store and around the building. Aretired U.S. Air Force veteran, Lewis deals with chronic pain, PTSD and degenerative bone disease.
“I’m 69 years old, and I’d rather do this than opioids,” Lewis says. “They’ve thrown all kinds of stuff at me. Opioids, OxyContin, hydrocodone.”
Lewis says she doesn't like the side effects from various medications she takes for her ailments. She’s turned to marijuana from the streets before, but no longer wants to go that route.
“But it’s–I can’t trust it. I don’t know what’s in there," she says. "Not only that, it’s illegal. And at my age, I don’t feel like going to jail.”
Another customer, Lynne Davis, lives with epilepsy and fibromyalgia. She says her prescribed medications conflict with one another, so she wants to try medical marijuana.
“I can’t take any medication for my fibromyalgia because it interacts with my epilepsy medications. And I have multiple conditions,” Davis says. “So under those circumstances, it makes it so that I kind of have to pick under traditional pharmaceutical standards, I have to pick one thing to focus on, and I’m tired of being in pain.”
William Kedia, Terrasana chief medical officer and research head, says he is not sure how many customers will come through on opening day. Five customers were allowed into the dispensary at a time.
But Kedia is sure they won’t run out of marijuana.
“It’s been a long road. It was a three and a half, four year process from when we first thought about getting into this industry to finally opening,” Kedia says. “I can’t describe the excitement, little bit of trepidation that goes along with it.”
As of mid-March, Ohio has sold 288 pounds of medical marijuana, with an average price of $472 per ounce. Since sales began on January 16, around 5,500 people have purchased marijuana, which is currently available only in bud form.
The state board of pharmacy also awarded Terrasana dispensary certificates of operation in Cleveland, Fremont and Springfield.