Starting a cannabis company in Ohio? We’ve put together a state-specific guide covering everything from available license types to fees, regulations, and what you should include in a Ohio cannabis business plan. Jump to a section by clicking below, or go straight to our sample cannabis business plan.
Since HB 523 passed in 2016, Ohio adults can possess a 90-day supply of cannabis if they have a written recommendation from a doctor. Ohio doesn’t allow smoking medical marijuana--it must be in the form of an oil, pill, edible, patch, tincture, or vape cartridge.
Ohio issues licenses for four broad categories of cannabis businesses: dispensaries, cultivation facilities (aka grow operations), processors, and testing companies.
Dispensary: This is a retail storefront where patients can purchase marijuana. Dispensaries have to follow Ohio regulations about labeling, recordkeeping, employee ID cards, location (not within 500 feet of a school, church, or park), signage, hours, security, and more. See Ohio dispensary FAQs here.
Marijuana cultivation: These businesses, also called grow operations, grow cannabis plants that will be sold through a dispensary or sold to a processor that will create products with it, such as edibles or oils. In Ohio, grow operations also are required to follow state-mandated rules, such as seed-to-sale tracking and following Ohio’s approved pesticide list. See Ohio cultivator FAQs here.
Processor: Processors buy cannabis from licensed growers, then process and/or create infused products and sell them to dispensaries. In Ohio, you’re allowed to manufacture marijuana products that don’t require refrigeration or hot-holding. See Ohio processor FAQs here.
Testing facility: Consumers and regulators alike demand consistency and quality control in cannabis products, which creates demand for marijuana testing labs. These labs use methods like liquid or gas chromatography to analyze products for CBD and THC content, pesticides, terpenes, bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals, to name a few. See Ohio testing FAQs here.
Ancillary business: If you don’t want to grow, process, test, or sell cannabis in Ohio, there are plenty of other ways to be part of the cannabis industry. You can create a marijuana app, payment processing service, advertising agency, consulting firm, pest management product, accounting firm, automated plant watering system, security service, packaging labeling service, or legal firm--and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Local governments may forbid cannabis companies or certain locations, so check city and county regulations.
Application fees: Applying for a cannabis business license in Ohio costs $2,000 for a testing lab, $5,000 for a dispensary, $10,000 for a processor, $20,000 for a Level 1 cultivator, and $2,000 for a Level 2 cultivator. Level 1 cultivator means you have up to 25,000 square feet of canopy; Level 2 is up to 3,000 square feet of canopy.
License fees: It’s $20,000 annually for a testing lab license in Ohio, $70,000 biannually for a dispensary, $100,000 for a processor, $200,000 for a Level 1 cultivator, and $20,000 for a Level 2 cultivator.
Yes, a business plan is required to get a medical marijuana business license in Ohio. In 15 pages or less, it should include your “experience in any type of business environment, establish the business model for the proposed cultivation facility, and demonstrate the ability to operate the proposed facility, which includes steps taken with the local authorities,” according to the cultivator application. A dispensary application must include a business plan that includes a site and facility plan, business startup plan, description of roles/duties, capital requirements, and business experience (see page 9 here). And if you plan on raising funding from investors, you definitely need a business plan.
Here’s what a Ohio marijuana business plan should include. If it will be part of your license application, remember that your business plan cannot contain “identifiable information” (see page 10 here).
Google your city or municipality name and “cannabis regulations” or “marijuana laws”. If your city or municipality’s website doesn’t have information about cannabis, check recent local news coverage or contact your city clerk, city manager, or town hall.
Confused or overwhelmed yet? That’s normal. With such a highly regulated industry, and one with different rules in every state, starting a cannabis company can be very complex. Get help with your cannabis business plan from Masterplans, the industry leaders. We’ve worked with hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs like yourself to create investor-ready documents and presentations so you can not only meet regulations but get the funding you need. Click below for your free, confidential consultation: