Ohio Cannabis Program Updates

Ohio Cannabis Program Updates

JUNE 28TH, 2024

Ohio Cannabis Program Updates

Ohio legalized recreational cannabis in 2023 with the passage of Issue 2. Possession and personal cultivation became legal shortly after and recreational sales are still set to follow. Lawmakers continue to tweak the laws that regulate the recreational cannabis program, and the legislature has yet to enact changes to the initiative ratified by voters last year.

Ohio cannabis program roadblocks

Like every cannabis program rollout, the state has hit several roadblocks. In late 2023, the Senate proposed an immediate launch into recreational sales with one major caveat: the proposal banned most vape products, included a THC limit, and limited home cultivation rights. Arguing that this contradicted what voters wanted when they approved Issue 2, the House rejected the proposal.


Additionally, more than 50 municipal corporations or townships have enacted bans or moratoriums on cannabis. While none of the state’s biggest cities like Columbus, Cincinnati, or Cleveland have opted to ban or limit cannabis sales, many of their suburbs and the smaller towns in northeast and southwest Ohio have.


Municipalities without active cannabis bans can also choose to enact a ban within 120 days of license issuance for incoming cannabis businesses. If this happens, the licensed dispensaries would have 60 days to close their shops.

Ohio approves first adult-use licenses

State regulators have notified more than 60 medical cannabis license holders that they are qualified to transition to adult-use cannabis as soon as the state gives the go-ahead. As of June 21, the state has received 235 applications for medical dispensaries to transition to adult-use sales.

Qualified businesses, including dispensaries, cultivators, and testing labs, must obtain a “certificate of operation” before they can participate in the recreational industry. The certificate will only be available to qualified businesses that have met security, inventory, and other requirements, such as proving that they have updated their point-of-sales systems to keep recreational and medical sales separate.


Uncertainty about the official launch date

Officials have made it clear that there is yet to be a set launch date for adult-use sales in Ohio. The dual-use provisional license for approved existing medical operators is not a permit to begin selling to recreational customers. Instead, it serves as a placeholder while the licensee obtains a certificate of operation and regulators finish processing documentation. Certificates of operation are expected to be issued in the order that applications were received.

Ohio cannabis program timeline

  • 1975: Ohio decriminalizes the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis
  • 2016: The state legalizes medical cannabis use
  • 2019: First medical cannabis sales begin in Ohio
  • 2023: Ohio legalizes adult-use cannabis
  • June 2024: The state begins providing provisional dual-use licenses to qualified medical cannabis providers to serve recreational customers once sales officially begin


Are you interested in obtaining a cannabis business license in Ohio? Call us to speak with an industry expert at 602-290-9424.

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