Ohio Marijuana Licensing >
Businesses planning to open cannabis dispensaries in Ohio must get dispensary licenses from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy in order to operate legally in the state. Dispensary license applications must include business plans, site and facility plans, and operations plans. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy issues an initial provisional license and, afterwards, a certificate of operation to each successful applicant.
While recreational marijuana remains illegal in Ohio, the state generates a high demand for medical cannabis products. To meet rapidly rising demand for medical marijuana, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy raised the number of cannabis licenses from 57 to 130 in 2021. This created room for new entrants in the state’s cannabis industry.
According to data from a cannabis program update released by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, the state had generated a cumulative total of $1.48 billion in cannabis sales between 2019, when the first cannabis dispensaries began operation, and September 2023. There are over 369,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Ohio. The number of licensed cannabis dispensaries currently operating in the state is 104.
Ohio issues only one type of dispensary license. The state’s Board of Pharmacy issues a Certificate of Operation to successful dispensary applicants.
Individuals or business entities interested in obtaining dispensary licenses in Ohio must submit their applications by electronic means when the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announces the opening window on its website. The following steps must be taken:
All individuals with an ownership stake or who can exercise operational influence with the dispensary must be listed as "Prospective Associated Key Employees" on the application. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy is the state agency responsible for issuing dispensary licenses in the state. The last application window for new dispensary licenses closed in November 2022. State law sets a limit of 130 dispensary licenses; there are currently 104 licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state.
It is vital for a prospective dispensary owner to prepare a business plan that will outline their strategy for take-off and growth. Under Ohio rules, cannabis dispensary applicants must submit business plans outlining the following:
Ohio dispensary license applicants are also required to submit site and facility plans. Site plans are expected to show the following:
An operations plan is also required from a dispensary license applicant. It should contain specific details about the following:
Yes. Per House Bill 523, municipalities in Ohio are allowed to refuse the operation of cannabis dispensaries in their localities. Not all municipalities in the state have agreed to allow cannabis-related businesses to establish marijuana facilities. It is vital for prospective cannabis dispensary owners to confirm beforehand which Ohio municipalities have opted to permit cannabis businesses, including marijuana dispensaries, in their locality.
Applicants who satisfy the initial requirements for a dispensary license in Ohio are issued provisional licenses. After six months, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy will determine if the licensee has adhered fully to the regulations and then issue a final Certificate of Operation.
Cannabis dispensaries in Ohio can only be located on the premises approved by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and municipal authorities. Per Ohio cannabis law, no dispensary shall be located within 500 feet of the following establishments:
Yes. Ohio cannabis dispensary licensees are allowed to operate multiple dispensary locations. However, according to HB 523, each dispensary location must have its own Certificate of Operation.
A prospective dispensary owner in Ohio will incur costs related to the following expenses when starting operations:
No, Ohio does not require cannabis dispensaries to maintain insurance policies. However, having certain insurance policies is beneficial in the long term for dispensary owners. The following are some of the insurance options open to cannabis dispensaries in Ohio:
Establishing a cannabis dispensary in Ohio is capital-intensive because of the state's steep license fees and other funding requirements. Prospective dispensary owners in the state can consider some of the following options to raise funds while opening their dispensaries:
No, Ohio does not run a social equity program for cannabis dispensaries or any other cannabis businesses.
Yes, cannabis dispensaries in Ohio are mandated to charge a 5.75% sales tax on customers’ marijuana purchases and remit it to the Ohio Department of Commerce. Municipal authorities are also permitted under Iowa law to charge a sales tax to dispensaries located within their boundaries. Municipal sales tax rates range between 0.25% to 2.25%.