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If I Buy Medical Marijuana in Michigan, Can I Bring it Back to Ohio?

if i buy medical marijuana in michigan, can i bring it back to ohio

Michigan has legalized both recreational (adult-use) and medical cannabis. One of the things that Michigan is known for is quality cannabis dispensaries. There are so many of them that the cost of buying cannabis products in Michigan is less expensive than in surrounding states.

In 2023, Michigan had almost 1,000 CRA (Cannabis Regulatory Agency) licensed dispensaries. There are more than 300 active medical cannabis dispensaries and over 650 licensed recreational cannabis retailers.

When you consider that other states like New York have only twenty-three (23) cannabis dispensaries, you can see that high competition results in lower prices for medical marijuana patients and recreational users.

Not surprisingly, patients visiting Ohio may want to take advantage of the lower prices and greater selection of products in Michigan. What do Ohio’s medical marijuana laws say about bringing medical marijuana into Ohio from another state?

Ohio Residents Transporting Cannabis from Michigan Are Breaking the Law

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Some people are aware that any time you purchase medical or recreational cannabis in another state and bring it back to Ohio, you are committing a criminal act. Others may not understand the restrictions that are in place.

It is illegal, even if you are a patient who purchases medical cannabis in Michigan. Whether you have a medical card or not, you are only permitted to possess cannabis for recreational or medicinal use if you have purchased it from a licensed dispensary in Ohio. And you may face severe penalties for transporting marijuana to Ohio from Michigan.

Michigan Will Accept Your Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Card

The laws may be confusing to some because Michigan has reciprocity with other states. For example, you can visit a medical dispensary in Michigan, present your card, and medical marijuana purchase legally. You are also protected while you are in Michigan by the same laws that govern residents.

Recreational cannabis is not legal in Ohio. That means only patients with a valid prescription from Ohio’s medical marijuana program may purchase cannabis from a licensed medical dispensary. Possessing cannabis, regardless of its origin, without an Ohio medical marijuana card is illegal.

While visiting a recreational marijuana state like Michigan, consuming cannabis is legal. However, once you attempt to travel across state lines with a controlled substance, it is both a state and federal crime. Having an Ohio marijuana card will not provide immunity to controlled substance charges, and the act is considered drug trafficking, even if the products are intended for personal use.

What are the Differences Between Michigan and Ohio Prices?

When you consider that there are substantial legal penalties for traveling over state lines with cannabis, it is a big risk to take. Depending on where you are apprehended and the quantity of cannabis flower or other products you have in your possession, it can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.

State officials know that, despite the risks, it is a continuous problem. But why would patients take the chance of being charged with a felony offense simply to save money on cannabis? You may be wondering if there is actually a big price difference between Ohio medical marijuana costs compared to Michigan.

It is not a myth or rumor; it’s a fact, according to a 2023 report by the Ohio State University Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC). The report found that while costs of marijuana products in Ohio dropped by 31.1% from 2022 to 2023 (July), Michigan still has more affordable prices for patients.

However, the report also states that the pricing gap between the two states has changed significantly after Ohio’s medical marijuana costs declined. The average cost of cannabis flower, for example, has dropped from approximately $5.08 per gram in Ohio to $2.60, which places the expense almost at par for both Ohio and Michigan now.

Cross-state border sales remain a concern for both states, but more for Ohio cannabis regulators. Marijuana Moment reported that Michigan cannabis sales (medical and recreational) hit a new record ‘high’ in July 2023, exceeding $277 million in sales.

Why Are Cannabis Prices Higher in Ohio?

Back in 2021, the Michigan legalized medical marijuana, and recreational cannabis industry saw a heavy price adjustment. According to Cannabis Benchmarks, wholesale flower prices fell nearly $500 per pound.

That year, Ohio cannabis flower averaged $4,610 per pound, compared to Michigan, where a pound was selling at $3,065. This is according to data from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The disparity remains and is the primary reason why some Ohio residents (whether they are medical marijuana patients or not) travel to Michigan to save money.

Ohio cannabis costs were slowly falling, tempting many Ohio patients and recreational users to travel to Michigan instead. A stark difference in cost is the motivation for Ohioans to make the drive cross state lines at their own legal risk.

Price Fixing Understanding Between Ohio Cannabis Producers

A plant is a plant, and you may be wondering why cannabis prices in Ohio are so expensive. In 2021, the Dayton Daily News interviewed Ariane Kirkpatrick, CEO of Harvest of OH, who stated that there is no individual price gouging to elevate prices. However, there is an agreement among dispensaries in Ohio not to “undersell” in price competition.

Higher prices sustain profitability to ensure the growth and success of the medical cannabis program in Ohio, unfortunately, at the cost of affordability for patients.

Ohio Has More Cannabis Available Than Buyers

In the current inflationary period, prices for all consumer goods are higher than normal. And that puts pressure on medical marijuana users to try to cut costs wherever possible. How much of Michigan’s record-breaking sales is due to interstate purchases?

Another indicator that price is a problem is Ohio’s growing problem with too much cannabis. In June of 2023, Cleveland.com reported that it is the medical cannabis growers that are objecting to demands from the state to increase grow space.

If you are a dual citizen and frequently travel between Michigan and Ohio, be careful when crossing state lines, as marijuana bought in one state is not allowed in the other. 

Will Cannabis Become More Affordable in Ohio?

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol conducted a survey, which reported as many as 55% of Ohio residents may favor recreational legalization. The Issue 2 November ballot initiative would impose an additional 10% tax on recreational cannabis but not increase the costs for medical marijuana for patients.

Issue 2 in Ohio would also make it legal for residents to grow up to twelve (12) cannabis plants at home. If cannabis is legalized for adult use (recreational), that may put downward pressure on dispensary prices for patients using medical marijuana in Ohio.

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