How to open a Dispensary in Ohio

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Medical cannabis is now legal in Ohio, though the bill is still currently still being drafted. As of right now, there is no rule regarding the number of dispensaries that will be allowed to operate. Currently, there are provisions for around 60 businesses and 24 cultivation facilities. Here is everything you will need to know to open up a cannabis dispensary in Ohio.

Legalization in Ohio

HB 523 was signed into law in 2016.  It authorized the creation of the state’s medical cannabis program in Ohio. In April of 2017, the Phase I Cultivator Application was released to the public.

When was cannabis made legal

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Ohio is continuing its roll-out process for its emerging medical cannabis program, slated to begin on September 8th, 2018. By June 2017, dozens of applications had been received for the state’s two types of cultivation licenses.

Regulations are expected to be finalized in November. Twenty four cultivation licenses are expected to be issued by the state. Ohio finalized the rules for the other types of licensee: processors and dispensaries in November.

What is the Cannabis Market Worth in Ohio?

Medical sales of cannabis are expected to surpass 225.5 million by 2021. Medical cannabis is relatively new to Ohio, so there is not currently any past data. There is no limit on the amount of dispensaries allowed in the state, but there are provisions for up to 60 dispensaries.

Licensing Requirements

​Licensing requirements are expected to change at any minute, so don’t expect these to remain permanent.  The Board of Pharmacy will evaluate all applicants based on their qualifications and dispensary licenses will be rewarded on that basis.

The State Board of Pharmacy may issue 40 dispensary provisional licenses up until September 8th of this year. After that, additional criteria based on factors such as population and geographic distribution. Again, these are expected to change, so be aware. You should also be aware of your state and local laws.

Financial Requirements

Financial requirements

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License Type             Application Fee                License Fee                       Annual Renewal Fee

Processor                          $10,000                          $90,000                                $100,000
Dispensary                        $5,000                            $80,000                                $80,000

Additional costs include:

  • Dispensary certificate of operation fee $70,000
  • Biennial renewal for a dispensary license fee $70,000
  • Biennial renewal for a dispensary associated key employee card fee $500
  • Biennial renewal for a dispensary key employee card fee $250
  • Biennial renewal for a dispensary support employee card fee $100
  • Reissued dispensary certificate of operation or employee identification card fee $50
  • Change in ownership fee $5,000
  • Relocation fee $5,000
  • Major modification or renovation fee $5,000


As with any business, opening a dispensary takes a fair amount of time. You should plan for more than a year to get your affairs in order.

 Consulting Companies

The following firms can advise you on everything you need to know to open a dispensary in the state.



  1. Matthew Wilson on

    So basically the average Joe cant open a dispensary. Only the elite with a quarter million sitting around and some pull can open a dispensary. Maybe I can get a go fundme campaign started and get about 20 thousand raised and go to the bank with my average credit get another 20k and go to my local city leaders for a 50 to 100k grant!! Yea that sounds great!! What do you think my odds are of that being successful?

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