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Ohio Is Now Accepting Applications For Licenses To Sell Recreational Marijuana As Soon As This Month



Ohio is one step closer to launching recreational marijuana sales under a legalization measure approved by voters last November, with applications now officially open for existing medical cannabis dispensaries to obtain dual licenses so they can serve patients and adult consumers alike.

The Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) is accepting the newly released applications as of Friday. This comes days after the department released informational materials to prepare prospective applicants, outlining regulatory requirements they must satisfy in order to be eligible for the hybrid license.

The sooner those applications are completed and requirements are met, the sooner adult-use marijuana sales can start—though DCC Superintendent James Canepa says the exact timeline is unclear.

That said, Canepa, who previously served as the state’s top alcohol regulator, had suggested before that businesses with dual licenses approved could begin selling to patients and recreational consumers as early as this month.

DCC Public Information Officer Jamie Crawford said officials “will review and process the applications roughly in the order that they have been received.”

“There will be no one singular day when sales begin,” he said. “We will start issuing licenses and it will be up to the retailer based on staffing, stock and other considerations as to which day they will begin sales. Given the foundation already laid through the Medical Marijuana Control Program, current medical permit holders positioned to apply for dual-use status who have already undergone many of the comprehensive checks are anticipated to have a much quicker turnaround for issuance of licenses over the summer.”

A FAQ posted by regulators notes that “applications from cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories will receive priority” in order to “help ensure an efficient supply chain.”

In general, dispensaries with dual licenses will also need to make sure they maintain an adequate supply of cannabis so that they don’t run into situations where medical patients aren’t able to access the products they need.

DCC says each dispensary “must determine what amount of supply meets that requirement for them.”

Applications for the dual licenses are opening about a month after the legislature’s Joint Committee On Agency Rule Review (JCARR) gave final approval to the proposed cannabis regulations for the adult-use market under the legalization law voters passed last November.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) doesn’t personally support legalization, but he’s repeatedly criticized the delay in access to regulated products since voters made that choice and possession became legal in December.

Legislative leaders had separately discussed putting together a bill to make various changes to the law, including expediting sales, but the plans have largely fallen apart amid disagreement within the GOP-controlled legislature.

The Senate did pass an amendment package just prior to legalization taking effect, but the House has not taken it up, nor has it moved to advance a different proposal that originate in the House. Senators also recently filed a separate bill to change various marijuana rules.

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Meanwhile, as regulators have worked to finalize regulations for the adult-use market, it already implemented a change in February that allows medical marijuana patients and caregivers to obtain or renew their registrations for only one penny. That fee was then totally eliminated with the adoption of a new rule at last month’s JCARR meeting.

The fee elimination is part of an initial package of rules that DCC released in February to implement adult-use legalization.

Following voter approval of legalization at the ballot, the Department of Commerce was quick to publish an FAQ guide for residents to learn about the new law and timeline for implementation.

The governor, meanwhile, has previously pressed the legislature to enact changes to expedite recreational marijuana sales. But he’s indicated that his more immediate concern is regulating the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC.

“This is time for the legislature to move,” the governor, who also raised the issue during his State of the State address last month, said. “We can’t do it ourselves.”

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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