Montgomery County’s first medical marijuana dispensary, Mad River Remedies, officially opened Thursday in Riverside, giving many Miami Valley residents legal access to the drug for the first time.
Lisa Scales had been on narcotics for migraines more than two decades before she discovered cannabis.
“My doctor was prescribing fentanyl. I felt so out of control, I couldn’t do things for four to six hours,” said Scales, 55. “I feel so much more in control of my health.”
Riverside’s Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Mad River Remedies medical marijuana dispensary at 11 a.m. The dispensary had been serving patients since May 28, the day after a tornado outbreak hit the area, but celebrated with the city on Thursday.
Jay Joshi, chief pharmacist at Mad River Remedies, said some patients drove from up to 90 miles away to purchase marijuana.
“The overwhelming response we’re receiving from our patients is a sigh of relief,” Joshi said. “The patients were always there, they were just looking for somewhere they could call their neighborhood dispensary.”
Mad River Remedies is No. 19 on Ohio’s list of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The next closest dispensary is About Wellness Ohio in Lebanon. Most of the other licensed dispensaries to open have been in the northeastern part of the state.
Two other dispensaries with licenses in Montgomery County are yet to open. Pure Ohio Wellness LLC and Cannascend Alternative LLC both have provisional dispensary licenses. There are a handful of other dispensaries in Clark and Greene counties that also have provisional licenses, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.
Joshi said Mad River gets its product from growers across the state.
Carl Nawman didn’t know about the grand opening ceremony but came in for the first time ever. He has had his medical marijuana card since December 2018.
“I’ve been waiting 12 months for dispensaries to open up,” Nawman said. “But I’ve really been waiting for years for this.”
The 67-year-old was in Mad River Remedies getting marijuana for his chronic pain. He bought a two-day supply of dried marijuana flower. He didn’t venture to other parts of the state to get marijuana because he didn’t want to drive long distances.
“I didn’t want to drive two and three hours to go to a dispensary and pay high prices, so I just waited,” Nawman said.
Mad River’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Joshi said he anticipates expanding hours based on customer feedback and need.
Thursday was Scales’ second time visiting Mad River Remedies. She bought dried marijuana flower and gummies.
Scales said she felt she didn’t have any other choice than to take the narcotics given to her by her doctor.
“I’m really happy to be off the narcotics. My doctor thought he was helping me,” Scales said. “He wasn’t able to help me.”
Scales said she went from leaving the pharmacy with a huge bag of many different drugs to only using medical marijuana. She is excited for legislation to catch up with the medical marijuana industry.
“I still have to be uncomfortable smoking in my backyard,” Scales said. “I can’t wait for the laws to be loosened up. It is still shunned.”
In between her first visit to Mad River Remedies and Thursday, Scales found out her father was diagnosed with cancer. He is in the process of getting his medical marijuana card.
“I’m so glad that he has this option. I’m going to figure out what will make him feel better,” Scales said. “I’m so glad we have this. I couldn’t be happier.”