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Ohio Set to Double Cannabis Dispensaries in the State

by Sarah Cawthon May 13, 2021

Ohio is set to expand the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently approved an additional 73 dispensary licenses, bringing the statewide total to 130. The Board had initially issued 57 dispensary licenses, but only 52 are currently in operation.  

According to the proposal, the Board is required to consider expansion once every two years, and took three key factors into consideration, including: the population of the state, the number of patients seeking to use medical cannabis and the geographic distribution of dispensary sites.  

The increase in the number of cannabis dispensaries in the state comes as patients complain about high prices and having to drive long distances to find certain products, leading patients to not renew their medical cannabis patient cards, according to Sharon Maerten-Moore, the Board’s director of medical cannabis operations. 

“We feel that if additional dispensaries are added and patient travel decreases and due to more competition in the market, prices will decrease over time,” Maerten-Moore explained. 

Under the approved plan, the application process will remain the same as the initial 2017 application process, including security and business plan requirements. Applicants who meet the qualifications will then be entered into a lottery process to allocate licenses by dispensary district, which typically consists of one county or a group of two or three smaller or less populated counties. Applicants would be limited to five dispensary licenses total statewide, including the licenses they currently have.  

In 2017, the Board set an initial limit of 60 dispensaries throughout the state covering single or multi-county districts. The number of dispensaries was based on the initial estimated patient count of a maximum 24,000 patients. The state now has 176,387 registered medical cannabis patients as of March 19 

In 2018, 57 licenses were awarded as three districts lacked qualified applicants to award the 60 licenses. Medical cannabis sales began in January 2019, with most of the dispensaries open and operational by the end of the summer. However, five have yet to open.  

According to Marijuana Business Factbook, Ohio’s medical cannabis are projected to reach $350 million to $425 million this year and will increase to over $500 million by 2022 or 2023. That’s a considerable increase from the $221.5 million in 2020.  

“The program is starting to hit its stride,” said Tom Haren, Ohio cannabis attorney. 

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) anticipates announcing the application process this summer, but likely not before June. When the application process is announced, the OMMCP will post more information regarding the process on its website. 

Prepare for Ohio Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opportunities 
If you’re seeking hands-on, custom assistance with applying for and operating a medical cannabis dispensary in Ohio, contact our Unity Rd. team to learn how you can receive help from industry veterans. 

The Unity Rd. franchise opportunity offers a deep network of seasoned experts, trusted resources, turnkey blueprint and ongoing operational support to confidently operate dispensaries that are compliant and profitable.  

Otherwise, if you'd like to go about the application process on your own, you can begin preparing with our Ohio Application Guide & Checklist.