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Three agencies in Ohio share regulatory oversight. The Department of Commerce develops rules for licensing and regulating cultivators, processors, and testing labs. The Board of Pharmacy oversees patient and caregiver registry and in charge of licensing retail dispensaries. The State Medical Board oversees physicians and issues them a “certificate to recommend.”

Ohio currently issues four types of cannabis business licenses, namely cultivator license, processor license, dispensary license, and laboratory testing license. As of December 22, 2021, the state had granted 22 level I cultivator licenses, 14 level II cultivator licenses, 58 dispensary licenses, 46 processor licenses, and 11 testing licenses.

Medical Marijuana Retail Dispensaries are permitted to acquire medical marijuana from processors and dispense or sell it to patients. To open a retail dispensary, costs include $5,000 for the application fee, $80,000 for the licensure fee, and $80,000 for the renewal fee.

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Ohio has a relatively recent history with cannabis legalization. In 2016, the state passed a law legalizing medical cannabis, which allowed qualified patients to purchase and possess medical cannabis for certain conditions. However, the rollout of the program was delayed and faced legal challenges, which delayed access to medical cannabis for patients.

Since then, there have been efforts to expand access to medical cannabis in the state. In 2019, a bill was signed into law allowing for the cultivation of hemp and the production of CBD oil in the state.

On November 7, 2023, Ohio voted in favor of Issue 2, which effectively legalizes cannabis for adults 21 and over. On and after December 7, Ohio adults 21 and over can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in plant form or up to 15 grams in extract form and grow up to six marijuana plants per adult (capped at 12 plants per household).

The vote makes Ohio the 24th state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use marijuana and furthers a trend of more conservative states establishing legal markets. With a population of 11.8 million, Ohio will become the fourth largest state with a recreational market. Adult-use sales could reach $4 billion by the fourth year of legal cannabis.

The launch of Ohio’s market will also likely put pressure on neighboring states Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, since their residents will undoubtedly be crossing the border to buy weed – and contribute tax dollars – in the Buckeye State.

LAST UPDATED 1/18/2024 – It’s important to remember that laws can be revised and updated frequently, so please keep this in mind.