WAPAKONETA — Eagle Dispensaries saw patients for the first time Monday, marking the end of a seven-month wait for the Lima region’s first and only medical marijuana dispensary to open.
The dispensary is now the 20th to open in Ohio since the program went live in January.
But it won’t be open to everyone.
Those seeking to purchase medical marijuana from the dispensary first need a state-issued medical marijuana patient ID verifying they meet one of Ohio’s 21 qualifying conditions, which can be obtained from a visit to a state-certified physician.
“They need to show their medical marijuana patient ID that they received from the physician and their photo ID that they gave the doctor,” said Jamie Gallaspie, a manager at the dispensary. The photo identification is case sensitive: Gallaspie explained that patients will need to show the same ID they provided their physician when applying for the medical marijuana registry, along with their patient card.
Those who gain entry will be escorted through the dispensary area by a patient advisor. Spouses and caregivers, meanwhile, will have to wait in the lobby.
The dispensary is currently selling THC-infused edibles, such as drops and gummies, as well as flower products.
The opening of Eagle Dispensaries will make medical marijuana more accessible to patients in the Lima area.
Eagle Dispensaries, 502 N. Dixie Highway, Wapakoneta, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Dr. Rajbir Bajwa, one of the region’s few physicians certified to determine whether patients qualify for medical marijuana, said his patients in Wapakoneta have been traveling upwards of 30 miles in search of open dispensaries.
“Most of my patients are located in this area, and they had to drive to Dayton, Columbus or even Sandusky to get medicine,” said Bajwa, whose Medical Cannabis of Northwest Ohio clinic opened in Wapakoneta in January. “Now that they’re open, I’m hoping it will help patients get access.”
More than 48,000 Ohioans are registered patients with the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, but as of June 30, only 26,000 of those patients had purchased medical cannabis in the state.
Ohio dispensaries sold $14.5 million worth of medical marijuana since the program went live in January.
Chronic pain is the most common condition, according to Bajwa and Mo Branson, founder of My Marijuana Card, which is also seeing patients seeking a medical marijuana card in Lima.
Bajwa believes the pressure to steer patients away from opioids to pain management alternatives is driving chronic pain sufferers to try medical marijuana.
“If people had easy access to a safe product to (treat) pain, then they wouldn’t be coming to medical marijuana because it’s not covered by insurance,” Bajwa said. “But I think they come because of the difficulties in dealing with pain management specialists and people who see them as drug seekers and they’re just (in pain).”
Branson said he’s seen an uptick in clients seeking a medical marijuana ID ahead of the Wapakoneta dispensary’s grand opening Monday.
“A lot of conditions have chronic pain-related symptoms,” Branson said. “We’ve all been waiting, patients and us.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.