How to open a Dispensary in Ohio

Medical marijuana legislation in Ohio is currently still being drafted. As a result, there are no concrete rules about the actual number of marijuana business entities that will be allowed to operate in the state. The only information that is available is that there are provisions for around 60 businesses and 24 cultivation facilities.

This article details what we know about the state’s medical marijuana program, the license requirements and the fees associated with starting a marijuana dispensary in Ohio. The application period is due to open soon, however, at this early stage, everything is liable to change.

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Authorization to create a medical marijuana program was given on June 9th, 2016, when Ohio’s Governor signed HB 523 into law. It authorized the creation of a new medical marijuana framework in Ohio. In April of 2017, the Phase I Cultivator Application was released.

When was cannabis made legal in ohio

Ohio is continuing its roll-out process for its emerging medical marijuana program, which is expected to be operational by September 8th, 2018. In June of 2017, dozens of applications were received for the state’s two types of cultivation licenses.

A decision is expected to be reached by Ohio regulators in November. A total of 24 cultivation licenses are expected to be issued by the state. The state also finalized rules for the other types of licensees – Processors and Dispensaries – in early September.

Current marijuana market in Ohio

Currently, there is no set number of dispensaries allowed from the Board of Pharmacy. However, the draft states that there are provisions for at least 60. Medical sales of marijuana are expected to surpass $225,500,000 by 2021. Medical marijuana is new to Ohio, so there is no data for past fiscal years.

License requirements

​License requirements are expected to change at any moment, so these drafts are not definite. The Board of Pharmacy plans to evaluate completed applications and award dispensary licenses on a competitive basis based on pre-set criteria. Applicants will need to provide proof of their qualifications, whatever those may be.

The licenses will be issued in phases. Until September 8th, 2018, the State Board of Pharmacy may issue up to forty dispensary provisional licenses. After September 8th, 2018, they will set additional criteria based on that state’s population, the number of registered patients, and the geographic distribution of already approved dispensary sites. These additional steps will help ensure patient access to medical marijuana across Ohio. These factors will be considered at least once each biennial licensing term to determine whether a sufficient number of medical marijuana dispensaries are in each part of the state.

Financial requirements

Financial requirements
Financial requirements

License Type             Application Fee                License Fee                       Annual Renewal Fee

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

Here are some additional costs that you should consider:

  • 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


Starting a business of any kind often takes at least a year, however, since policies are still being drafted in Ohio, expect it to take even longer. Once the application period has opened, prospective business owners also need to allow enough time to secure funding and obtain the necessary licenses.

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5 comments on “How to open a Dispensary in Ohio”

  1. If I was interested in starting a dispensary what are the steps to do so? What do I need for license? What are the fees? Do you help with funding? What are your fees?

    • Hi Cindy,

      Unfortunately, we can’t help you with this, we’ve included helpful links in the bottom of the article for if you have serious interest in starting a dispensary in Ohio.


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