Ohio Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS OHIO'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Cannabis in Ohio has had a tough past getting legalized by the state. However, Ohio’s policies towards decriminalizing possession of cannabis has been far more progressive than most, decriminalizing up to 100 grams in 1975. In 2016, the fight for medical cannabis finally prevailed, and the first sale occurred in 2019. Though it’s taken a while for Ohio to participate in the cannabis industry, new laws and legislation show a promising future for the plant in the Buckeye state.
WHAT ARE OHIO'S CANNABIS LAWS?
In 2016, Ohio officially legalized medical cannabis after Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523. The bill outlined a process for setting up a complex and functional cannabis system that consisted of cultivation facilities, testing labs, patient registration, retail locations, and other, crucial operations in between. The plan was to have this system ready by September 2018, which would be regulated by the Ohio Department of Commerce. In the meantime, patients with qualifying conditions like AIDS, Parkinsons, PTSD, and other chronic or terminal illnesses, were allowed to cross over to Michigan and bring medical cannabis into Ohio. As of 2019, the action of smoking cannabis and selling smokable cannabis products are illegal. However, edibles, tinctures, and other non-smoking cannabis products are permitted for retail and consumption.
WHAT IS OHIO'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued 56 medical cannabis dispensary licenses throughout the state, and had the limit of awarding 60 dispensaries total. The state is divided into 31 counties and each county can only have a limited amount of dispensaries. Applicants can have a max of five licenses and 66% of dispensaries in a county. Currently, Ohio isn’t accepting applications for medical cannabis dispensaries.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN OHIO?
Ohio was one of six states to decriminalize cannabis possession up to 100 grams in 1975, labeling the offense as a minor misdemeanor resulting in a $150 fine rather than jail time. After many years of cannabis being illegal yet decriminalized, legalization of cannabis was presented on the ballot in 2015. The measure was known as Issue 3, and aimed to legalize the use and sale of cannabis, allow commercial cultivation of cannabis, allow possession of cannabis up to one ounce of commercial cannabis, and allow home-cultivation of cannabis up to four plants. Issue 3 had also been endorsed by celebrities such as NSYNC’s Nick Lachey, Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks player Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Bengals player Frostee Rucker, and fashion designer Nanette Lepore. Issue 3 ultimately failed because it was criticized for establishing a monopoly on cannabis producers and did not receive the endorsement of the Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project.
In 2016, House Bill 523 passed, legalizing medical cannabis and setting up guidelines for a cannabis system in Ohio. Like previously mentioned, the system was set up by September 2018 and in the interim period qualifying patients could travel to Michigan to legally obtain medical cannabis. In 2019, medical cannabis was sold legally for the first time. In the same year, many Ohio cities took measures to further decriminalize possession of cannabis up to 100 grams. Dayton and Cincinnati eliminated all penalties and fees, Columbus reduced its fine to $10, and Cleveland eliminated penalties for possession up to 200 grams.
DOES OHIO HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE OHIO CANNABIS MARKET?
Ohio is not currently accepting applications for medical cannabis dispensaries. As their medical cannabis industry flourishes in the coming years, the opportunity for more dispensaries will arise. Get ahead of the curve by developing your Ohio medical cannabis business plan. Contact Point7 today to discuss our products and service packages available to make the application process and post licensure operations seamless.