Ohio releases proposed rules for recreational marijuana market

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Ohio regulators have released proposed rules for the state’s pending recreational marijuana program.

The 11-page document includes proposed fees for various business licenses, details on how the application process would work and information on how medical cannabis businesses could transition to a dual license to also serve adult-use consumers.

The proposed rules come less than three months after Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana.

Only days after that vote, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered state lawmakers to make changes to the initiative.

Under the proposed rules, Level 1 cultivators would be licensed for three dispensaries and Level 2 growers would be issued one.

Existing MMJ retailers would be issued one additional dispensary license, but the operator is prohibited from common or controlling ownership in any cultivation or processing business – a major restriction that is omitted for Level 1 and Level 2 cultivators.

Dispensary applicants must pay a $5,000 application fee and apply for either a dual-use or adult-use license.

Licenses would be issued via lottery under this proposal.

Retailers are prohibited from operating within 1 mile of each other, one of the largest buffers in any U.S. recreational market.

Renewal fees are costly, including:

  • $200,000 for Level 1 cultivators.
  • $20,000 for Level 2 cultivators.
  • $50,000 for processors.
  • $20,000 for testing labs.

The Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the Ohio Department of Development plan to establish a cannabis social equity and jobs program.

The DCC is seeking public feedback on the pending regulations through Feb. 9.

Business applications will be available by June 7 and provisional licenses will be issued by Sept. 7 in accordance with the voter-approved legislation.