Ohio's Second Round of Dispensaries Slow to Open

So far, only 14 of the 73 new licensees have opened their doors.

Ohio’s expansion of its medical marijuana industry last year was supposed to bring another 73 dispensaries to the state, but so far, only 14 of those have opened for business – despite rules that required them to be ready for customers within 270 days.

It’s unclear what the status is of all the dispensaries that haven’t yet begun serving patients, though at least 22 have been cited by the state Board of Pharmacy (BOP) for not opening within that timeframe. Most of those have negotiated settlements to get more time to open their doors, The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.

The total number of operational dispensaries as of March 24 in Ohio is just 68, according to data from the BOP.

But that number should be closer to 131, since the state issued 73 dispensary licenses in addition to its first round of 58 dispensaries in 2018, WOSU Public Media reported last year. Seventy dispensary permits were awarded in January 2022, and another three were added just last month, The Dispatch reported.

Of the 22 that were cited for not commencing operations, it’s unclear when or if those shops will open, but they were given amended timelines with associated fines to be paid for each month they weren’t serving patients, under settlement terms with the BOP.

Shops that pass inspection by May 13 and are ready to open won’t be penalized, but those that need longer will have to start paying for each additional month of leeway. The first 30 days after May 13 will cost $5,000, with another $5,000 tacked on each month until August – a cumulative $30,000 penalty, The Dispatch reported.

Any of the 22 not open by September will have to face the BOP, which has the power to revoke the dispensary permits.

The 22 include six licenses in Cincinnati, four in Columbus, one in Cleveland, and the rest in towns scattered around the state.

The other 37 from the new round of dispensaries, however, are mostly slated to open in the near future, an Ohio cannabis industry source told Green Market Report on Thursday. That should bring the total closer to 109 dispensaries in Ohio.

John Schroyer

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