Ohio awards 56 medical marijuana licenses; program to launch later this year

In a key step toward launching later this year what is expected to be a lucrative sector for the medical marijuana industry, Ohio regulators issued 56 dispensary licenses.

Regulators received 376 dispensary applications and were allowed by law to hand out a total of 60 licenses. But the state didn’t receive applications for two of the districts.

The Marijuana Business Factbook 2018 projects Ohio’s MMJ market has the potential to generate upwards of $300 million in annual retail sales within a few years.

The industry’s start is expected to be sluggish, however, partly because of Ohio’s slow licensing of cultivation and processing businesses.

The awarding of dispensary licenses by the state Board of Pharmacy itself had been delayed from May. That resulted in applicants paying thousands of dollars each in additional real estate expenses while they awaited final word.

Experts predict Ohio will miss the mandated Sept. 8 date to be up and running and that MMJ products won’t be in plentiful supply until early 2019.

In addition to oils, edibles and tinctures, the law allows vaping but prohibits smokable cannabis. Physicians are expected to begin registering patients for the program in July.

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