Flag of Ohio

How to get a dispensary license in Ohio

If you’re exploring how to apply for a dispensary license in Ohio, it’s important to understand the strict requirements for both applying for and receiving an Ohio dispensary license. 

Currently, Ohio law only allows for the retail of marijuana for medicinal purposes and strict guidelines govern who can apply for and receive licensure for various cannabis-related facilities. 

For medical marijuana facilities in Ohio, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy oversees the state’s statutory regulations and is responsible for reviewing applications and granting licenses. 

Applications for medical marijuana facilities in Ohio are not open on a rolling basis and are not accepted often. 

Once applications are released, however, the period of submission will be time-limited and, with only a certain number of licenses available, you may face some tough competition in being granted a license. That’s why it’s important to approach your application with thorough preparation, including identifying the right builder to meet your business’s needs.

The state of Ohio provides several Question & Answer periods during the open application process to help identify and address the concerns of prospective applicants. 

Ohio requires cannabis dispensary applicants to submit a business plan with the application that identifies the cannabis construction firm in Ohio or an outside state that they plan to have build their dispensary. Builders can be sourced from states outside of Ohio, but they must be licensed to build within the state.

Site-specific designs, as well as itemized budgets for each project, are required submissions with each application.

If you’re considering opening a cannabis dispensary in Ohio, or you’re applying for an Ohio dispensary license, contact us today to discuss how we can help meet your unique building needs.

If you are opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio, you will be required to maintain compliance with state law as to who can be admitted into your facility. This will include, but be limited to, patients with certain qualifying medical conditions, such as HIV / AIDS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and a number of other conditions associated with chronic pain, as well as their approved caregivers. 

If recreational retail marijuana laws pass in 2021, the guidelines for application are still uncertain but will no doubt be just as stringent and require the appropriate capital and resources to qualify for licensure. It is also unlikely that applications will remain open indefinitely and the period for application release is likely to be time-limited. 

Take the time now to review the state’s guidelines thoroughly, develop your business plan, secure funding, and identify a builder for your project now. These are just a few steps you can take now to position your business well once applications are released. 

How much does it cost to start a dispensary in Ohio?

How much is a grower’s license in Ohio? Is it expensive to open a dispensary in Ohio? 

Whether you’re looking for a cultivation license in Ohio or you’re planning to open a dispensary, the cost and application process involved in receiving licensure in Ohio requires planning and preparation. 

The cost to operate a licensed dispensary in Ohio is significant, requiring ample funding to open your business and consistent revenue to maintain your licensure, as your license must be renewed on an annual or biannual basis, depending on the type of license. 

While currently only medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, there are still important fees associated with getting your Ohio marijuana dispensary operational. The fees associated will vary depending on the type of facility you plan to open and the level of cultivation you plan to achieve. 

Regardless of your level of operation and the type of facility you seek licensure for, you will have both application fees and license fees associated with opening a marijuana business in Ohio. If you’re seeking an Ohio dispensary license, please review the following fees before beginning your application.

Application fees include: 

  • Testing lab: $2,000
  • Dispensary: $5,000
  • Processor: $10,000
  • Level 1 Cultivator: $20,000 (up to 25,000 sq. ft. canopy)
  • Level 2 Cultivator: $2,000 (up to 3,000 sq. ft. canopy)

License fees include: 

  • Testing lab: $20,000 annual fee
  • Dispensary: $80,000 biannual fee
  • Processor: $90,000 biannual fee
  • Level 1 Cultivator: $180,000 biannual fee
  • Level 2 Cultivator: $18,000 biannual fee

In addition to the initial application and license fees, annual renewal fees apply. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy also requires licensees to maintain escrow accounts with minimum balances in order to obtain and maintain licensure.

For medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio, the state limits the number of licenses it awards and the total number of outstanding licenses allowed at one time. 

If you’re considering opening a cannabis dispensary in Ohio, it’s important to plan ahead, identify a cannabis construction company in Ohio ahead of time, and monitor the state’s website for open calls for applications. 

In April 2021, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the state body responsible for overseeing Ohio’s medical marijuana industry, approved expanding the number of dispensary licenses in the state to 130, opening the door for an additional 73 licenses. 

If the Ohio General Assembly approves a bill to allow for recreational marijuana retail in the state, it is unknown how many licenses will be available and states and localities will regulate building and operational requirements, as well as determine whether or not recreational cannabis will even be allowed in their municipality. 

Recreational Marijuana Laws in Ohio

On June 9, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed HB 523 into law, allowing for the provision of retail medical marijuana in the state of Ohio. Only patients with certain conditions qualify for usage and must obtain state permits to enter and purchase product from a state-licensed medical marijuana retail dispensary. 

Two years later, in 2018, medical cannabis dispensaries in Ohio began to open.

The state is currently considering legislation to allow for the legalization of retail recreational marijuana. If the law passes, cities and localities will be required to pass additional ordinances governing the regulation of retail cannabis facilities in their jurisdiction. Some localities may vote not to allow the operation of such facilities, despite the state law. 

If a recreational retail marijuana law passes in Ohio, the demand for recreational dispensaries throughout the state will explode and competition to obtain licensure and build dispensaries will be tough. 

If you plan to seek dispensary licensure, don’t delay your search for a builder. Our team is experienced and ready to design a facility that will meet your business’s goals and needs, while also managing your project from ideation to completion. Give us a call today at (847) 361-8050.