“From a public health standpoint, it is concerning. While there has been speculation that medical dispensaries target recreational users, now we are starting to collect evidence that suggests this is true,” Freisthler said.
Ohio State’s study of the four dispensaries was a pilot study for a larger research project that will examine the customers of 16 dispensaries in Los Angeles.
If the dispensaries’ customers were coming for medical purposes, they should be older than the average age the study found, researchers reported. The average age of customers was 28 to 32.
Overall, the results suggest policymakers should be careful when legalizing medical marijuana sales, Freisthler said.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana last year when Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that authorizes use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Patients and their caregivers will be allowed to possess up to a 90 day supply.
The Medical Marijuana Control Program is jointly managed by the commerce department, pharmacy board and state medical board. Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law.