Open an Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensary – Applying for a License

Open an Ohio Medical Marijuana Dispensary – Applying for a License

Maxime Kot

Ohio medical marijuana business opportunities are in motion for those interested in opening a dispensary. On September 20th, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy started the process by issuing its official request for applications (RFA II) to award 73 additional dispensary licenses.

New procedures and policies have been implemented in response to concerns during the original licensing selection process including access to dispensaries and medical marijuana products for Ohio patients.

Ohio has 56 existing dispensaries that have permission to operate, while are still awaiting approval. The new application process caps medical marijuana dispensaries at 130 across 31 districts. This expansion will allocate around 1,200 registered patients per dispensary in each district, setting Ohio ahead of its neighbor Pennsylvania with more dispensaries per capita.


Drive-Through Dispensary Opportunities

Cannabis business entrepreneurs and stakeholders who plan to participate in this second round selection for an Ohio medical marijuana license will be allowed to include drive-through windows in their dispensary proposals. The state also plans to undertake a rule-making process to let existing dispensaries retrofit their facilities with drive-through windows. This change comes after some rules were altered and relaxed in April 2020 to keep workers and patients safe during the pandemic.


Licensing Selection Process

The winning Ohio license applications will be picked through a “drawing” process, where the applications are randomly ordered in each district. This allows dispensary applications to submit an unlimited number of applications; however, they are site-specific and provisional dispensary applications with common ownership of any parcels or adjoining parcels may only submit one application.

Dispensary ownership is capped at no more than five dispensary certificates of operation and/or provisional dispensary licenses at any time.

Additionally, a drawing process will not occur if the number of provisional dispensary license applications submitted is equal to or less than the number of licenses available for a district.

A revised code has been issued by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy that states it will not consider any provisional dispensary applicant that:

  • Submits an application containing one or more key employees who has a conviction for, judicial finding of guilt of, or plea of guilty to a disqualifying offense.
  • Has an ownership interest or investment interest in a testing laboratory, is an applicant for a license as a testing laboratory; or shares any corporate officers or employees with a testing laboratory or applicant for a testing laboratory.
  • Is a physician with a certificate to recommend medical marijuana or such a physician has an ownership or investment interest in or a compensation arrangement with the applicant.

Additional information available here.


Updated Licensing Timeline and Selection Process

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy will hold two Question and Answer sessions now that the RFA II has been released. These will be held September 20 – October 6,, and October 17-21, 2021. The second round application process for an Ohio medical marijuana dispensary license will start on November 4th, and close on November 18, 2021.


Next Steps for Ohio Medical Marijuana License Applicants

For those interested in medical marijuana dispensary license opportunities in Ohio, contact the CB Advisors team today to learn how to get started and prepare for license submission in November.

We have successfully secured licenses for clients in over 20 markets across the United States. If you are interested in applying for a cannabis business license in Ohio, contact us by phone at (602)-290-9424‬ or email ( for more information.




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