how to apply for a dispensary license in ohio


How To Apply For A Dispensary License In Ohio

Ohio has legalized recreational cannabis and is emerging as a key player in cannabis industry. If you’re planning on applying for a dispensary license in Ohio, you should be aware of the strict requirements that must be met in order to be accepted. 

On 7 November 2023, Ohio legalized cannabis for adult use, and very soon the application window will open for new dispensaries in the state. This is the perfect time to start preparing in order to apply for an Ohio marijuana dispensary license and obtain it successfully.

Recreational Marijuana Licensing In Ohio

With the passage of Issue 2, Ohio legalized marijuana for recreational use. This important move creates a new licensing category for businesses that want to grow, produce, test, and distribute marijuana for recreational use.

What is Issue 2? It is a proposed legislation to tax, legalize, regulate, and commercialize cannabis use by adults in Ohio.

Division of Cannabis Control will be establishing a process for license applications which is set to be released by June 7, 2024. License issuance is likely going to start on September 7, 2024.

Key aspects of recreational marijuana licensing include:

  • You must be 21 years and up to apply for a dispensary license in Ohio.
  • Applicants must be aware of the regulations for setting up a dispensary in Ohio.
  • Individuals can grow up to 6 plants at home.
  • A 10% sales tax will be levied on recreational marijuana transactions.
  • The task of regularizing the Ohio cannabis market lies with the Division of Cannabis Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce.
  • The Department of Commerce is authorized to finalize rules and issue licenses to cannabis business license applicants.
  • The adult-use cannabis program will be Integrated with Ohio’s existing medical marijuana program.
  • Existing medical marijuana licensees are eligible to obtain recreational licenses.

Alongside the state’s existing medical marijuana program, this new legal framework presents more prospects for entrepreneurs and businesses in Ohio’s cannabis industry.

What Do You Need To Open A Dispensary In Ohio?

Multiple documentation and/or processes may be required depending on the route you choose. For example, if you are an existing operator, and want to enter the adult-use market, you would apply for a conversion through the Division of Cannabis Control.

If you currently hold a Level 1 cultivation license, you may be eligible to apply for a conversion to obtain up to three dispensary licenses. The Cannabis Social Equity and Jobs Program is where you will start the application process if you are a social equity applicant. Since each person’s situation is distinct, a case-by-case approach is often required, necessitating ongoing guidance.

How To Apply For A Cannabis Dispensary License In Ohio

Basic Requirements

Applicants must provide extensive information about the retail dispensary they intend to establish. The dispensary’s name, the type of business organization it is, the physical address, and the applicant’s contact details are among the basic details that must be provided. However, the application process becomes complex when candidates gather information to demonstrate that they abide by state tax rules and municipal zoning ordinances.

Application License Fee Details

Obtaining a retail dispensary license would probably require paying a hefty entry fee for prospective business owners. The dispensary application fee is $5000. The application will then be reviewed.

The applicant will then be required to pay an extra $80,000 fee if they are successful in obtaining a certificate of operation. The operation certificate will need to be renewed every two years, and there will be an additional $80,000 renewal charge. Additionally, operators of dispensaries will be required to pay fees for their employees. The fee of an employee’s license will vary depending on the position, from $100 to $500.

Choosing A Location For Your Cannabis Business Venture

It is required by law that no dispensary can be situated within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, playground, park, or community addiction care provider. You must choose a location that can be accessed easily by customers.

Medical Cannabis

Ohio, in contrast to other states, has chosen to ban delivery, which means that in order to receive their medical marijuana, patients and caregivers will need to visit the dispensary. The hours that dispensaries can operate are from 7 AM to 9 PM.

Proving Financial Stability

A comprehensive financial plan is also necessary to demonstrate that the applicant has the funds necessary to pay for all out-of-pocket expenditures and operating costs for the first year, which the draft guidelines estimate to be at least $250,000.

Applying For The Dispensary License

  • Monitor the Department of Commerce website for announcements about application availability.
  • Assemble all the required paperwork, which may include business plans, operational strategies, background checks, and proof of good financial health.
  • Evaluate and submit all the required documents for Ohio’s initial cannabis dispensary license application.
  • Finally, pay the non-refundable application fee of $5,000.

What’s Next…

If you’re thinking about starting a cannabis dispensary in Ohio or if you’re applying for a license to operate one there, get in touch with us right away to discover how we can assist with your unique business needs.

Best of luck with your license application journey!

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