Ohio extends deadline for some medical marijuana dispensaries to open

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

Ohio dispensaries granted medical marijuana retail licenses that haven’t yet opened for business won’t lose their permits as long as they open before the end of the year.

Thanks to a provision in the state budget signed into law earlier this summer, that’s an unexpected gift to nearly 30 businesses that were among the licenses awarded in 2022 but haven’t yet started retail operations.

The extension will be especially valuable if Ohio voters approve an adult-use legalization initiative in November.

The measure would allow existing MMJ dispensaries to obtain adult-use sales permits, though the state’s Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature could modify the law if it’s approved by voters.

With strict license caps allocated by population, Ohio is one of the tougher states in which to open an MMJ dispensary.

State law caps at 130 the number of dispensaries allowed.

There are 101 dispensaries open for business in Ohio, according to state data.

The new licensees were supposed to have completed a final inspection no later than February.

But the 29 licensees that have yet to start operations now have until Dec. 31 to do so, Cleveland.com reported.

State law initially required licensees to obtain a certificate of operation within nine months of winning a permit, according to Lloyd Pierre-Louis in the Columbus office of the Dickinson Wright law firm.

But the looming recreational marijuana legalization ballot measure might give holdouts additional incentive.