It took some patience for the patients who gathered early in the morning to be among the first to purchase medical marijuana from the first dispensary to open in central Ohio.
When Terrasana Cannabis Co. opened for business at 10 a.m. March 26 at 656 Grandview Ave., several dozen people were in line and were allowed to proceed into the dispensary a few at a time.
Among the first in line was Dan Hoover of Columbus, who has Crohn's disease.
"I'm so happy to have this opening up," he said. "I've been traveling regularly to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to get a supply, and that's a three-hour drive," he said. "I'd try to buy as much as I could legally every time to last me. Now, instead of once a month, I'll be able to pop in here once a week and get just the amount I need to help with my condition.
"It also means I don't have to worry about going to the black market to get marijuana," Hoover said.
He feels more comfortable obtaining marijuana from a well-regulated business, he said.
"I know how much it helps," said Hoover, 45. "I'm a big believer in medical marijuana because I've seen how it helps with the inflammation and pain of Crohn's."
Tom Terflinger, 40, of Canal Winchester said he has traveled as far as Colorado to buy marijuana to alleviate the pain from hockey-related back injuries.
"I don't even have to use it every day," he said. "I only use it for a day or two, and I'm good to go for a long time. The pain goes away."
Terflinger said he thinks medical-marijuana dispensaries soon will be commonplace.
"There are so many conditions it can help with," he said. "I think within a couple years, dispensaries will be legal all across the United States. Too many people need it."
The opening of the first dispensary in central Ohio "is of tremendous significance," said Todd Yaross, Terrasana's co-founder and chief executive officer.
"There's a lot of demand and the ability for us to be the first -- although there will be others to follow, of course -- to help such a huge issue facing Ohio and central Ohio ... it's a big day," he said. "As you can see by the folks waiting here, we believe this will be a good alternative for each of their situations."
Terrasana, based in Columbus, opened a dispensary in the Cleveland area March 28 and in Fremont on April 2.
The company will open one in Springfield later this spring, Yaross said.
The Grandview Avenue location is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
"We're currently just offering plant materials -- raw flowers -- but we have been in constant contact with cultivators and processors and we believe based on those conversations that the first edibles and tinctures and other products will come online hopefully within the next 30 days," Yaross said.
Terrasana acquires its products from several Ohio cultivators, he said. They include Grow Ohio in Zanesville, Ohio Patients Choice in Huron, Calyx Peak in Akron, Riviera Creek in Youngstown and Ohio Clean Leaf in Dayton.
While Terrasana is the first, four other dispensaries are set to open later this year in Columbus. The others are Greenleaf Apothecaries, 111 Vine St.; 12 OH, 1361 Georgesville Road; Harvest of Ohio, 2950 N. High St.; and Verdant Creations on Cassady Avenue.
Patients must show their ID card and state-issued medical-marijuana cards when they arrive at Terrasana, Yaross said.
"They check in with our security to make sure they are indeed a qualified patient," he said.
"Once they are logged into the system and we can verify they have not exceeded the 90-day supply (allowed by Ohio law), they will be escorted into the pharmacy."
The cost of the marijuana Terrasana sells varies based on the strain or cultivator, Yaross said.
"Currently, a patient is permitted to buy up to a 90-day supply; that is state-regulated," he said. "The current prices we have range from $39 to $49 for a day's supply."
Medical marijuana was legalized in Ohio in September 2016.
Patients must get a doctor's recommendation in order to legally purchase and use marijuana products and must be diagnosed with at least one of 21 conditions to be eligible for a recommendation.
Yaross said he expects Terrasana will see a lot of patients, especially until other Franklin County dispensaries open.
The Grandview Avenue location is just south of Grandview Heights.
In April 2018, Grandview City Council approved a ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries within city limits.
In November, voters approved a referendum that overturned council's action.
Grandview councilwoman Emily Keeler sponsored the legislation to add dispensaries to the citywide ban on marijuana cultivators and processors.
She said while she didn't think a dispensary should be located within Grandview, Terrasana will be a convenient alternative for residents who believe using medicinal marijuana will benefit their health.
"One of the main reasons for our ban was that we have a limited number of available properties in Grandview and a dispensary was maybe not the best use we could find for those limited number of properties," she said.