Applying for a dispensary license in Ohio is no small undertaking. The state has limited dispensary licenses, a lot of requirements for the application process, a $5,000 application fee per application, and tough competition.  Having a dispensary in Ohio is considered a privilege. If you want to  be one of the lucky ones to open a dispensary in Ohio, we’ve provided all of the information you need to meet the November 18th, 2021 deadline.

Here you’ll find key information about Ohio, links to forms and regulations, notes about specific requirements, and a checklist of items you need for every application.  We emphasize the EVERY application part because you must submit a separate application and pay a separate application fee for each dispensary. The good new is you can apply whether or not you already own a dispensary in Ohio!


Know About Ohio

Ohio doesn’t get much attention other than during an election year.  Here is some key information about the state and its medical marijuana program that you may not already know.

Program Status:   Medical

Application Fee:   $5,000 per application

Number of Dispensary Licenses Available:   73

Number of Current Dispensaries:   58

Ohio Population:   11.75M

Ohio Medical Marijuana Patient Population:   92,000

Medical Marijuana Regulation: Chapter 3796 | Medical Marijuana Control Program

First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Application Window:   2017

First Medical Marijuana Sales:   2019

Current Medical Marijuana Dispensary Application Window:   September 20 – November 18, 2021

Social Equity: Ohio does not have a robust social equity initiative other than reserving 15% of licenses for OH residents who are minorities.

Selection Process:   Applications will be deemed qualified or disqualified.  Qualified applications will be entered into a lottery and selected applicants will win.


Important Dates

Applications Were Released: September 20, 2021

Start of Application Window: November 4, 2021

Due Date for Applications: November 18, 2021 at 2:00pm EST


Chances to Ask Questions 

Where to Submit Questions: Send via email to: [email protected]

First Chance to Ask Questions: September 20th – October 6th

Second Chance to Ask Questions: October 17th – October 21st

Dispensary Application Process Hurdles

Unlike some other states, Ohio requires that you have a piece of real estate selected for each dispensary application. Not only does it have to be selected, but it has to be approved by the landlord and by the local zoning authority.  Additionally you must submit a unique budget, floor plan and set of financial plans for each location.  This all takes a LOT of effort and should be considered before deciding whether or not to take on this process.  Because, let’s be real, you only have 7 weeks to go so you’ll have to have all of your time and effort dedicated to this project to get everything done in time. Larger players have been preparing for months.

Each Application Must Have

1. Its Own Location

So, if you want to apply for multiple licenses you must have a place to lease for each one, and have a landlord signature and lease or purchase agreement for each one.


 2. Floor Plan

A floor plan must be developed and stamped by an architect for each location. Showing the interior and exterior of the proposed facility, drawn to scale with square footage clearly illustrated. The site-specific plan must include and clearly identify all of the following:

  • Dispensary department
  • Restricted access areas
  • Waiting room
  • Patient care areas or other areas designated for patient and caregiver consultation and
  • Instruction -an enclosed delivery bay or equally secured delivery area where medical marijuana
  • Deliveries will be made pursuant to a standard operating procedure to be approved by the board
  • Day storage area with pass-thru window(s)
  • “Mantrap” at any ingress/egress from the dispensary department
  • Vault in conformance with C.F.R. 1307.72(a)(3)(6/30/2021) that is in a location not visible to the public
  • Parking (designated parking lot or publicly available parking)
interior decor
3. Budget & Timeline Prepared by Contractor

The build out budget and the construction timeline must be prepared by and certified by your contractor because that shows the state that there is a professional who has developed a plan and committed to fulfilling that plan using their specialized expertise.


4. Startup Cost Financial Plan

This includes license fees, permit fees, design, decor, brand development and any other things you’ll be spending money on to get started form the point of license award to the day you open your doors.


5. Financial Plan for Four Months of Operations

This includes staffing, hiring, taxes, lease, utilities and other monthly expenses.


6. Proof of Funds

You must be able to prove access to full funding for each location you apply for.  So, if you apply for 5, you must be able to prove 5X what your financial plans show you’ll need per location. If you have access to millions, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t have access to millions you’ll want to start talking to some potential investors.

Checklist for EACH Application 

Forms mentioned in this checklist are provided below in the sections following this checklist. You’ll also find a preview of the application, instructions for applying, a location map, and a link to regulations.

  • Select the Regions Where You Will Apply
  • Contact a Commercial Broker to Help You Find Real Estate
  • Sign Leasehold Agreement or Property Purchase Option with the Landlord  (some may charge a fee $$$)
  • Landlord Attestation That They Will Lease or Sell the Property to You Should You obtain a License
  • Build Out Budget Created by Contractor (usually an associated fee $$$)
  • Construction Schedule Created by Contractor (usually an associated fee $$$)
  • Contractor or Architect Create Floor Plan Drawings that Follow the Rules (usually a fee $$$)
  • Have a Land Survey Prepared for Location Showing Compliance With Distance Requirements (Usually an associated fee $$$)
  • Notice of Proper Zoning Signed by Zoning Authority
  • Proof of Compliance With Applicable Local Ordinances
  • Startup Financial Plan from Licensure to Operation
  • Startup Financial Plan for First 4 Months of Operations
  • Create an Organizational Chart Showing Ownership, Control, Employees, and Service Providers
  • Write a Description of Leadership ad Employee Roles
  • Develop a Detailed Timeline for Hiring and Training
  • Each Owner to get Background Checked Submitted to Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (small associated fee $$$)
  • Attestation of Release Form
  • Trade Secret Form
  • Tax Authorization Form From Each Owner
  • Make a Commitment of Funds Form
  • Commitment of Funds From Each Owner Contributing Capital
  • Proof of liquid funds in the form of bank statements or stock holdings from no earlier than October 19th.

Dispensary Application Resources

Where to Submit Applications: Submit Ohio Dispensary Applications

Regulations: Ohio Revised Code

Example of the Application: Preview of The Ohio Dispensary Application

Rules For Application: Instructions For Ohio Dispensary Application

How to Choose Your Location: Map of Areas With Licenses Available


Forms For Principal Team Members 

Tax Attestation Form: Permission for the Board to Access Tax Info

Commitment of Funds: Make a commitment of funds form that includes the person’s name, the date, an inked signature, a statement that they unconditionally commit funds to the project, and abides by Rule 3796:6-2-02(4)


Forms Required Per Application (One of each)

Notice of Proper Zoning Form: Get Signed by Zoning Authority in Every City Where You Apply

Attestation and Release Form: Approve the Release of Applicant Information 

Trade Secrets Form: Identify Your Trade Secrets (complete even if you have no trade secrets)

open a medical marijuana dispensary in ohio

In Conclusion: Applying for an Ohio Dispensary License 2021

In conclusion, all of the requirements for applying for an Ohio dispensary license explained in this article are important for your cannabis license application. The process is intense but it’s worth the effort. You might feel tempted to take some time to think it over bu with only seven weeks until the applications are dues, you have to make a decision NOW. 

We are approaching our cut off for accepting new clients. Our team of industry experts can help you do the best to manage putting together the best application possible for your team. Turn your business goals into actionable strategies that truly make a difference in the world.

Ready to work together? Contact us today.

Juliana Whitney