If you’re an Ohio medical marijuana patient, you may have received a 2022 survey from Ohio State University’s Drug and Policy Center (DEPC). If you took the survey, what did you think? MedicateOH spoke with the DEPC to learn more about what goes into how they developed their 2021 and 2022 surveys, what questions they chose to ask, and what knowledge they hope to gain. DEPC 2022 Survey: Take Now Through End of May 2022 

MedicateOH spoke with Jana Hrdinová, Administrative Director for the DEPC, about the current survey, which you can take by clicking here. It’s open through the end of May, but the DEPC says they may extend it depending upon response. “We are planning to keep it open through the end of May and then depending on how many responses we get we might leave it open for another one or two weeks,” Hrdinová said, “But the end of May is kind of our cut off date.”

The survey starts by asking if you are a registered medical marijuana patient. From there, a variety of questions pertain to the program. How often you use medical marijuana, what factors are important to you, and your overall satisfaction levels within the program are measured by the survey.

Who Can Take the DEPC 2022 Survey? 

The survey is not reserved for just current medical marijuana patients; there is room for everyone to voice their opinion. According to Hrdinová, “To only survey patients, you are only getting one half of the story. We also want to know why are people choosing not to engage? Whether it is because they don’t qualify to use marijuana or whether they get their supply from the non-regulated market?” 

For those who answered that they aren’t a registered medical marijuana patient, DEPC designed a few questions to learn why someone would choose to not get their medical marijuana card. There is no identifying information saved beyond gender and race, making this survey completely anonymous. DEPC felt the anonymity would allow respondents to be more likely to be honest when filling it out. 

The DEPC also enlists the help of the Board of Pharmacy and Department of Commerce to help develop the questions. “For instance, last year, Commerce asked us to include a question about how people perceive the safety of the product. We are interested in a dialogue with governmental agencies because our ultimate goal is to see policy changes that are going to improve the program,” Hrdinová explained. “And we do share the data with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Commerce because they are interested to know how patients are doing.”

What is the Goal of the DEPC Survey?

Hrdinová noted that after the first year of data was collected from the Ohio medical marijuana program, the survey was done by the DEPC’s partners, Harm Reduction Ohio. Since taking over the project, DEPC has continued to trace the development of the program to see if the government/regulating agencies are responding to feedback. The 2021 results showed that Ohioans are dissatisfied with the program as a whole, but that there has been some increase in satisfaction for some patients. 

“The majority of people are still on the dissatisfied level but the degree to which people are dissatisfied has decreased pretty significantly,” Hrdinová said. “We have given people options to say ‘I’m extremely dissatisfied’ or ‘I am somewhat dissatisfied’ and we are definitely seeing movement from ‘extremely dissatisfied’ to ‘somewhat dissatisfied’. And we also see increases in numbers of people who say they are satisfied with the program.”

Analyzing Dissatisfaction with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program

The biggest issue the DEPC survey saw last year when it comes to patient satisfaction is price. Hrdinova reflects on the results: “I would say the main reason driving dissatisfaction in all of our surveys is price of the product. People view it as very high and, of course, what plays into that. Hrdinova cites the other related reason that insurance companies do not cover cannabis due to federal prohibition. “And what also plays into that is it is fairly expensive to get your medical patient card… It’s $50 a year, plus you have to do annual check-ups with your doctor to continue to get your recommendation, which can range anywhere from $100-125 to $200. And while that might not seem like a lot of money to some people, it’s quickly a lot of money to others.”

Hrdinová also mentions a lack of employment protections as a reason not to join the program. “What we are seeing in the surveys is people are worried that if they were to use medical marijuana and get tested at work, they could lose their job as it is not a protective status.” Hrdinová explains that she is unsure how much protection Ohio could provide while cannabis is still under federal prohibition. “There’s only very very few states that provide any protection and it’s a very limited protection to begin with.” 

How does the DEPC come up with survey questions? 

With so many potential questions to ask patients about the medical marijuana program, narrowing it down to a short survey can be difficult. “The question we want to answer is ‘How well is it working for patients?’” Hrdinová explained. The questions stemmed from that: What is your level of satisfaction? What makes you satisfied? What makes you dissatisfied? How has your satisfaction changed, for instance, from certain policy changes?

The questions were driven by the overarching question of, “How well is this program working?”  Then they also collected some demographic data such as race and gender, just because it helps to describe the overall context of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP). 

About the DEPC 2022 Survey Questions 
  • The survey begins with demographic information, such as gender, race, and what condition under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program that you qualify for (if any). 
  • The next set of questions asks if you are currently a registered patient under the OMMCP, and then asks if you currently use marijuana (with or without a medical marijuana card).
  • As you continue, you are asked how long you have been using marijuana and how often you use it (from not at all to daily use). 
  • You are then presented with a 5-point scale asking how important convenience, price of product, variety of product options, concerns about law enforcement, and purchasing from a specific seller are to you. 
  • Next, they ask for a percentage of how often you purchase your marijuana from a legal Ohio dispensary, a legal dispensary in another state, the unregulated market, your own production, or gifts from friends/family. 
  • If you do not purchase from a legal Ohio dispensary, they provide a list of choices to explain why…from price to distance from dispensaries, from not qualifying to a card to a lack of delivery options.  
  • The survey goes on to ask if you would purchase from a legal medical dispensary, if it was easily accessible and similarly priced to the unregulated market. 
  • The next question asks how far away is the nearest dispensary from your home. 
  • The survey makes a series of statements asking whether or not patients agree regarding the price of marijuana products. 
  • Another 5-point scale asks about overall satisfaction with the current state of medical marijuana in Ohio, from extremely dissatisfied to extremely satisfied. 
  • The next page asks about the reason for dissatisfaction with the program and allows a number of reasons to choose from. 
  • The following page gives another 5-point rating scale on whether or not certain policy changes would increase or decrease your satisfaction with the program. The options range from curbside pickup and telehealth visits to employment and housing protection. 
  • The final question asks if you support full legalization of marijuana. 
What Response Do You Hope For From the DEPC Survey?

Last year, the survey link was included in the Board of Pharmacy monthly newsletter to patients which helped improve survey numbers. “So we’re hoping for anywhere from 1500 to 2000 responses this year,” said Hrdinová. “So we’ll just have to see how well we are doing on the numbers [at the end of May]. We are running some social media ads asking people to complete the survey. So, any sponsor of the survey we can get, that’s great for us.” 

This survey is anonymous. Take it by clicking here.