How to Secure an Ohio Dispensary License

Gabriela Tan
April 23, 2024

In the fall of 2023, Ohio made headlines as it became the 24th state to legalize recreational cannabis. This recent legalization will open many exciting opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs in the Buckeye State. However, going through the licensing application process and navigating strict regulations can feel overwhelming and complex. If you’re just starting your cannabis dispensary licensing journey in Ohio, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll be walking you through the basics of securing an Ohio dispensary license. From the new Ohio cannabis laws to how to prepare your application, we’ll help you get ready to tackle the dispensary licensing process. 

When Did Ohio Legalize Recreational Cannabis?

Ohio legalized recreational cannabis on November 7, 2023, with 57% of Ohio voters approving Issue 2. This new law took effect on December 7, 2023. Although possession of cannabis is legal for individuals in Ohio now, dispensaries have yet to open due to a delay in dispensary license processing. 

A calendar has the date November 7, 2023 circled in red, which is when Ohio legalized cannabis.

What Are the New Ohio Cannabis Laws?

With the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the new laws before applying for a dispensary license. 

We’ve summarized some of the key Ohio cannabis laws below:

  • Adults 21 and older are allowed to:
    • Possess, purchase, and share with other adults up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of concentrate
    • Cultivate up to six plants with no more than 12 plants per residence

  • Consuming cannabis in public areas or as a passenger of a vehicle is prohibited and is considered a minor misdemeanor with a fine of up to $150
  • Home cultivation is only allowed on the grounds of an individual’s primary residence and must be:
    • Within a secured closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area that prevents access by anyone under 21
    • Obscured from a public space
  • It’s illegal to operate a vehicle, bike, boat, or aircraft while using or under the influence of cannabis
  • A 500-foot buffer between cannabis businesses and sensitive locations will be enforced
  • A 10% cannabis sales tax will be imposed in addition to regular state sales taxes (5.75%) and local sales taxes (up to 2.25%)

Keep in mind that the laws noted above are not a comprehensive list. Before opening a dispensary in Ohio, it’s highly recommended to review the full text of the law

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for an Ohio Dispensary License?

Currently, the application fee for an Ohio dispensary license is $5,000. Once you’re granted approval, you’ll be required to pay the initial fee (certificate of operation) of $70,000. After that, a $70,000 license renewal fee is charged every two years. 

When Will Ohio Dispensary License Applications Be Available?

The DCC has announced that all application materials will be available no later than June 7, 2024. It’s important to note that this is not the due date for applications but rather the date that the DCC must provide application materials. 

A single marijuana plant in a medium-sized pot.

What Are the Steps to Getting an Ohio Dispensary License?

Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Ohio is a relatively new development, dispensary licenses have not yet been distributed. However, the new laws have outlined that the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) is responsible for regulating adult-use cannabis businesses. Under this new law, cannabis business applications need to be made available within six months of the measure taking effect. This means that we can expect the Ohio DCC to release more information on cannabis business applications by June 7, 2024

Although the application period hasn’t opened yet, once it does, competition can be tough with the DCC only expecting to issue up to 50 dispensary licenses. Let's go over what you can do to prepare your dispensary license application ahead of time. 

1. Do Your Research

The first step to preparing your dispensary license application is doing your research. Familiarizing yourself with Ohio’s new cannabis laws, including the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP), is a good place to start. Researching costs and requirements should be next. Creating a realistic budget can help you plan out expenses and determine how much financing you’ll need. 

2. Create a Business Plan

Having a solid business plan is not only essential to the success of your dispensary, but it’s also required as part of the licensing application. In your business plan, you should include:

  • The business model with a market analysis and operational strategy
  • The costs associated with opening the dispensary
  • Financial projections
  • Marketing and advertising plans
  • The legal structure of your business (e.g., LLC, corporation, etc.)
  • Compliance plans adhering to state regulations (e.g., security and product tracking)
  • A properly zoned location with detailed facility plans 

Writing your business plan will be one of the most time-consuming parts of putting together your dispensary license application. Rather than rushing through it, start early so you have plenty of time to proofread and adjust anything if necessary. For more guidance on where to begin with writing your application, check out our guide on how to write a winning cannabis license application

3. Prepare Documentation

Once your business plan is completed, start gathering the appropriate supporting documentation. Although the DCC hasn’t yet announced full application requirements, some documents that you may need include:

  • Background checks
  • Business and operational plans
  • A financial plan that includes proof of liquid asset reserves to cover one year’s worth of business expenses
  • Mortgage documents or lease agreement for the business
  • A staff training plan
  • Security plans that adhere to Ohio state regulations 
  • Payment for the non-refundable application fee of $5,000

Depending on the specific application requirements that the DCC announces in June, you may need more documentation than what’s specified on this list. 

4. Submit Your Application

Since applications aren’t being accepted at this time, regularly check the DCC’s official website so you can apply as soon as the application period opens. Before submitting, double-check your application to ensure everything is in order — any missed information or false promises may cause processing delays or rejection. Getting an extra set of eyes on your application is highly recommended, so ask business partners and other trusted individuals to review it as well.  

A woman is clicking on a large orange "submit" button on her laptop.

5. Application Review

After your application has been submitted, this part of the process will be a waiting game. The DCC and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy will review your application at this stage and will respond with a decision. They will also inspect your dispensary before distributing any licenses, so it’s important to have your dispensary location prepared. Some elements that might be inspected are signage compliance, security, recordkeeping, and product handling protocols. 

When Will Ohio Dispensary Licenses Be Issued?

According to the DCC’s proposed rules, provisional licenses will be issued by September 7, 2024. 

Final Thoughts on Securing an Ohio Dispensary License

Getting your hands on an Ohio dispensary license is a significant accomplishment, but remember that your journey doesn’t end there. Building a successful dispensary and cannabis brand not only requires a dispensary license but also quality products, exceptional customer service, and responsible business practices. In an industry as regulated as the cannabis industry, staying up-to-date on new regulatory changes will keep you in good standing with the DCC. With dedication and proper research, you’ll be well on your way to securing your Ohio dispensary license and becoming a part of the Buckeye State’s emerging cannabis market. 

As a new dispensary owner, your days will likely be filled to the brim. Consider streamlining your HR from the get-go with KayaPush, an all-in-one automated people management software specifically designed for dispensaries. Book a demo with us today to discover the possibilities of strain free HR, so you can focus on growing your new business.

Table of content

April 2024


Want to learn more about dispensary software management?

Meet the cannabis dispensary software that will save you time and money



per week



to run payroll


saved yearly

Hear what our customers have to say

“KayaPush has it all in one platform where you can kind of build what you need. Especially as a start-up, that’s important to us to be cost-friendly. You have the best price for what you’re offering. ”

-Marry Ann from Riverside Wellness-

Easiest to Use
Spring 2022
High Performer
Spring 2022
Best Usability
Spring 2022
Easiest Setup
Spring 2022
Trusted Vendor
Quality Choice

Easily and quickly scale your dispensary with the all-in-one solution

Get a Demo Call!

You Might Also Like

How to Open a Dispensary in Maryland

Find Out More

How to Open a Dispensary in Minnesota

Find Out More

How to Open a California Dispensary in 2023

Find Out More