How to Open a Dispensary in Ohio

Posted on November 22nd, 2022 to Entrepreneurialism

Even though Ohio has been a bit slow to embrace cannabis, in 2016, the state enacted House Bill 523, which finally set the stage for medical cannabis dispensaries in the state. However, the first medical cannabis dispensary did not open in OH until 2019. If you are looking to step into the medical cannabis industry in the state, it’s best to have everything in order when license applications are open. Here’s a look at things to know about how to start a dispensary in Ohio.

How to Open a Dispensary in Ohio

Ohio has a limit on how many medical dispensaries are allowed in each district. However, every two years, the state re-evaluates the allowed number of dispensaries based on the volume and geographic distribution of patients. If a need for more dispensaries is obvious, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy awards licenses either through a lottery or direct application.

You can sign up to get updates from the Medical Marijuana Control Program when new applications are being accepted. When the window does open to apply for a license, applications are only accepted for a brief period. Be sure to prepare to apply for your Ohio dispensary license by getting familiar with the steps below.

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1. Review and Understand the Cannabis Codes and Regulations

The Board recommends that anyone interested in opening a dispensary in Ohio review Chapter 3796 of the Ohio Revised Code, as well as other administrative codes regarding how the business should operate. State administrative codes can affect every aspect of the business, including:

  • The distance a dispensary must be from certain public spaces
  • How to navigate interactions with patients and caregivers
  • Necessary forms, record-keeping practices, and administration methods
  • Required payment-processing systems
  • What type of medical marijuana inventory the dispensary can offer
  • What type of advertising and marketing methods can be used

2. Create a Comprehensive Business Plan

When you submit your application to the Board of Pharmacy, you may be asked to also submit facility plans, specifications, and other business plans. Further, having a business plan on hand gives you more insight into all the things that will need to take place once you get approved for your license. Your business plan should cover the general outline of how the business will function, such as:

  • Information about the proposed location
  • Plans for the physical storefront, including notes about security and surveillance
  • Financial overview that includes a proposed budget and how you intend to handle financing the business
  • Plans for maintaining regulatory compliance
  • Information about inventory, including potential product sources

3. Submit Your License Application

As noted above, the application portal is only open when OH determines there is a need for new medical dispensaries. The complete application includes several documents that have to be filled out and signed, including:

  • Personal identifier information for the applicant
  • A trade secret form
  • Zoning forms
  • Tax authorization form
  • Release and attestation forms

The fee for filing the application for a provisional dispensary license is $5,000. Fees for filing the application are due at the time of submitting the application.

4. Submit Fingerprints and Background Check Authorization

One part of how to get a dispensary license in Ohio is submitting your fingerprints and authorizing a background check. All people who have at least a 10 percent financial interest in the proposed cannabis dispensary must submit their fingerprints and authorize a background check to be conducted. Fingerprints can be taken at WebCheck providers throughout OH.

5. Watch for Information Regarding Drawings

In the event you are submitting your application during an open period, the Board may opt to do a lottery or drawing with all approved applications to fairly award licenses to qualified prospects. Normally, if a drawing is planned, this information is made available before the application portal is opened.

Need a stellar dispensary marketing plan?

Marketing and advertising in the cannabis industry get tricky due to the many codes and regulations. Thankfully, CannaPlanners has the industry experience to make sure every dispensary’s marketing plan is where it should be. Ready to build a digital marketing strategy that works for your cannabusiness? Let’s talk.

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