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U.S. Industry opportunities


How to open a Recreational Dispensary in Ohio

Ohio Marijuanas Law

Want to learn how to open a Recreational Dispensary in Ohio? Issue 2, introduced into Ohio Marijuanas Law, has a detailed framework for adult-use cannabis licenses, emphasizing a diverse range of opportunities within the cannabis industry. The legislation specifically mentions licenses like the Level III Adult-Use Cultivator and Adult-Use Dispensary, with a notable focus on supporting social equity applicants. This initiative is designed to ensure fair representation and opportunities for historically marginalized communities and include a social equity program in the burgeoning cannabis market. Read the Initiative Petition, An Act to Control and Regulate Adult Use Cannabis.

In addition to these, the state anticipates the introduction of more varied licenses to encompass a broader spectrum of the cannabis industry. These anticipated licenses include Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Cultivator licenses, which will cater to different scales of cannabis cultivation operations. Laboratory Testing licenses are also expected, which will play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and quality of cannabis products through rigorous testing protocols. Furthermore, Processing licenses will allow entities to handle the transformation of raw cannabis into various consumable forms, expanding the market's product range.

A notable aspect of the Ohio cannabis legislation is its allowance for organizations to hold multiple licenses, providing a significant opportunity for business expansion within the industry.  Additionally, they can possess both a cultivator and a processing license. This provision facilitates vertical integration, allowing businesses to control multiple stages of the supply chain, from cultivation and processing to retail. This approach could lead to greater efficiencies, better quality control, and potentially lower costs for consumers. According to the Act, no person shall possess more than eight Ohio recreational dispensary licenses or one of each license type for a single business entity, except a level III Adult Use Cultivator license. This comprehensive licensing structure in Ohio not only aims to regulate and maintain quality in the adult-use cannabis market but also opens the door for diverse business ventures and equitable participation in this growing industry.

Ohio Division of Cannabis Control

With the passing of Issue 2, the Ohio Department of Commerce and Division of Cannabis Control is set to establish and commence the licensure process within 9 months. This will provide them with the necessary time to determine the rules and regulations associated with opening a cannabis business in Ohio. The ballot included provisions for offering 50 new Ohio Recreational Dispensary Licenses and 40 Level III Adult Use Cultivation Licenses. However, it is anticipated that more licenses will be made available once the division is fully established. The direct responsibilities of the Division include licensing, regulating, investigating, and penalizing adult-use cannabis operators who do not adhere to the rules and regulations put forward by the Division.

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How much does it cost to open a Recreational Dispensary in Ohio?

Opening a recreational dispensary in Ohio requires careful budgeting due to varying factors such as location, size, and operational costs. Starting a dispensary in Ohio carries significant expenses, including a $5,000 application fee, an $70,000 licensure fee, and an additional $70,000 renewal fee. A minimum budget of $250,000 is advisable for startup expenses for an Ohio recreational dispensary license. As of now, the fee structure for recreational cannabis dispensaries has not been released by Ohio's Division of Cannabis Control. However, referencing the medical cannabis licensing phase provides insight: To establish an Ohio recreational dispensary, one must allocate financial resources for various essential expenditures. It is worth noting that as of October 30, 2023, there are a total of 107 dispensaries operating with Certificates of Operation, alongside 27 provisional dispensary licenses currently in active status. This figure can serve as an estimate for the recreational cannabis market, though fees may be equal to or less than those for medical cannabis.

Ohio Recreational Dispensary License Application Process

Once you've decided to open a recreational dispensary in Ohio, it's important to understand the application process. Currently, the Division of Cannabis Control has nine months adopt rules for the Ohio Adult Use Cannabis Program, updates with rule making will be located HERE. This step is crucial in obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Familiarize yourself with the application requirements, updates, and guidelines provided by the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control and participate in the public comment periods.  

  • Gather all the required documentation, such as financial statements, business plans, and security plans.

  • Engage your local community, secure real estate, and get approval from local stakeholders. 

  • Pay close attention to deadlines and submission requirements to ensure your application is complete and on time.

Preparing the Required Documentation

When preparing the required documentation for your dispensary application, it's important to pay attention to detail and ensure everything is in order. Here are some key steps to follow:

  • Gather all necessary documents, such as proof of residency, financial statements, and background checks.

  • Double-check that all documents are complete and accurate, as any missing or incorrect information can delay the application process.

  • Organize your documents in a clear and logical manner, making it easy for the reviewing authorities to find the information they need

  • Hire an expert such as Green Rush Consulting to assist you in navigating the complex web of developing an award-winning application for a qualified submission to be selected. Get started HERE

Submitting the Ohio Recreational Dispensary License Application  

Want to learn how to open a recreational dispensary in Ohio online? Once you have completed all the necessary documentation, it's time to submit your application. Remember, in Ohio, applications and all documents must be submitted electronically. After submitting your application, the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control will review all submissions and conduct a lottery to award adult-use dispensary licenses. To increase your chances of being awarded a license, you can submit multiple Ohio recreational dispensary license applications in your submission. Once available, you can open a recreational dispensary in Ohio online through the Submission Portal

Opening an Ohio recreational dispensary requires careful planning and preparation. From choosing the right location to obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, there are several important steps to follow. Once the legal requirements are met, setting up the dispensary involves finding suppliers, creating a welcoming environment, setting up inventory and supply agreements, and point of sale systems to open your doors.

Understanding the Ohio Adult Use Cannabis Opportunity

Understanding Ohio's Issue 2 is crucial for anyone looking to open a recreational dispensary in Ohio. Issue 2, which was on the ballot in the 2023 election year, marked a significant shift in the state's approach to marijuana. Spearheaded by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, this measure played a pivotal role in legalizing recreational marijuana use for individuals aged 21 and older. This legislation not only alters the landscape for cannabis usage but also opens doors for entrepreneurs aspiring to enter the Ohio recreational dispensary market.


Ohio Recreational Cannabis Sales

The Ohio Division of Cannabis Control, established under Issue 2, is at the forefront of regulating the burgeoning marijuana industry. As a potential dispensary owner in Ohio, you should be aware of the division's role in issuing licenses. There are 50 adult-use dispensary licenses up for grabs, alongside 40 licenses for adult-use cultivation. These numbers highlight the growing opportunity in the Ohio adult use cannabis market. With recreational sales expected to commence in late 2024, Ohio's market size is projected to reach an impressive $2 Billion, with a net public benefit of approximately $260 Million, as reported by Forbes.


Financial Aspects and Tax Implications

For those wondering about the financial viability of opening a recreational dispensary in Ohio, the numbers speak volumes. This financial growth is not only beneficial for dispensary owners but also for local municipalities, which stand to gain from the tax revenue. The imposed 10% sales tax on marijuana will funnel funds towards the Cannabis Social Equity and Jobs Program, marking a positive step towards social responsibility.


Home-Growing Provisions

A notable feature of Ohio Issue 2 is its stance on home-growing. Individuals in Ohio will have the liberty to grow up to 6 plants. This aspect not only reflects the state's progressive stance on marijuana but also indicates the broader acceptance and integration of cannabis into everyday life in Ohio.

Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program

 On June 9, 2016, Ohio Governor Kasich signed HB 523 into law, authorizing the creation of a new medical marijuana framework in Ohio. The Ohio Board of Commerce and Board of Pharmacy accepted applications in 2017, awarded provisional medical marijuana cultivator licenses in November 2017, provisional medical marijuana dispensary licenses in June 2018, and initial provisional medical marijuana processor licenses in August 2018 with more forthcoming.

The licenses available during the Medical Marijuana licensing round were as follows:

  • Medical marijuana cultivators

  • Medical marijuana processors (extraction and manufacturing)

  • Medical marijuana dispensaries

What are the requirements to get a marijuana business license and open a dispensary in Ohio?

Depending on the route you take it requires different paperwork and or different processes. For instance if you are a existing operator, and want to get into the adult-use market, you would apply for a conversion through the Division of Cannabis Control. If you are a existing Level 1 Cultivator you would apply for a conversion and could potentially be awarded up to 3 Dispensary licenses. If you are a social equity applicant you would go through the starting application process through the Cannabis Social Equity and Jobs Program. Everyone's situation is different, so case by case basis is often required, that's why guidance is needed through the process, fill out our contact form for more information.

Are there any special programs available for medical cannabis dispensary owners in Ohio?

Yes, there are special programs available for dispensary owners in Ohio. Social Equity Applicants would apply under the Cannabis Social Equity and Jobs Program. Which would provide assistance during the licensing process.

What is the application process for obtaining a medical cannabis dispensary license in Ohio?

The application process for obtaining a dispensary license in Ohio involves submitting an application, paying the required fees, and providing all necessary documentation. For adult-use, the expected timeline before licensure includes about 10 months of preparation and regulatory setup. 

How long does it take to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Ohio?

The timeline for opening a dispensary in Ohio can vary. It typically takes several months to complete the application process, undergo background checks, and receive approval from the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control. After Issue 2 became law in Ohio it gave 10 months for the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control to be established as well as a licensing process to be announced.

Can I sell products other than marijuana at my dispensary in Ohio?

No, dispensaries in Ohio are only allowed to sell medical marijuana and related products until Adult Use sales are allowed. The sale of other products, such as tobacco or alcohol, is not permitted.

Ohio law only authorizes medical marijuana recommendations for the following qualifying conditions:


  • AIDS

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Cancer

  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Positive status for HIV

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Sickle cell anemia

  • Spinal cord disease or injury

  • Tourette’s syndrome

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

  • Ulcerative colitis

Estimated market size

According to Forbes, Ohio's projected recreational market size will be $2 Billion, with the public netting roughly $260 Million

how to start a marijuana business Ohio

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Ohio, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

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