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When Will Recreational Dispensaries Open In Ohio?

Sarah Welk Baynum

by Sarah Welk Baynum

June 4, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Fact checked by Emily Mullins
When Will Recreational Dispensaries Open In Ohio?

The buzz about when recreational dispensaries will open has been everywhere in Ohio. 

However, since the bill legalizing adult-use (recreational) cannabis passed on November 7, 2023, it has been unclear when Ohio will see dispensaries selling marijuana recreationally, or when new recreational dispensaries will open across the state.

Until then, your best bet might just be obtaining a medical marijuana card. 

Here is everything you need to know about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio, when recreational dispensaries will open in the state, and how to obtain a medical marijuana card until then. 

When Will Marijuana Be Legal in Ohio? 

On November 7, 2023, Ohio became the 24th state to legalize adult cannabis thanks to the 57% of voters who voted in favor of Issue 2. This Issue was also known as the Act to Control and Regulate Adult Use Cannabis. 

The legalization of recreational marijuana was a long time coming for Ohio, especially after medical marijuana became legal on September 8, 2016, and states nearby began legalizing it recreationally just a few years after that.  

For example, Ohio’s neighboring state Michigan legalized recreational marijuana over 5 years before Ohio finally jumped on the recreational bandwagon in November. Unfortunately for Ohioans who live close to the Michigan border, it has still been illegal to bring cannabis back to their home state despite its close proximity. 

While the legislation might still be tweaked in the coming months, for now, one immediate option has already gone into effect after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio passed in the fall.

Ohioans are now permitted to grow up to six cannabis plants per year, per person, with a maximum total of 12 plants per household allowed. 

After Issue 2 passed, the Division of Cannabis Control was also created within the Ohio Department of Commerce to begin the process for non-medical dispensary applications. 

It’s expected to complete any lingering rulemaking and begin accepting non-medical cannabis licensing applications by June 7, 2024. By September 7, 2024, it will begin giving provisional licenses to non-medical cannabis facilities that applied. 

The good news is that an update from the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control let Ohioans know the existing shops selling medical marijuana could become what’s called dual-use dispensaries. This means they could sell recreational marijuana and continue to sell medical marijuana. 

This could create a much faster turnaround time for Ohioans wanting to purchase recreationally since existing stores will need to apply for this new dual-use license – especially chain dispensaries with experience making this switch. The dual-use application is very simple, which is great for dispensaries wanting to make the change.

Other states that have gone through this medical-to-recreational transition have also noticed a spike in new dispensary openings, especially regarding these chain-style dispensaries, which means even more options for Ohioans. 

When Will Recreational Dispensaries Open in Ohio?

Unfortunately, the fate of purchasing recreational marijuana at dispensaries is on hold until these licenses are issued and the facilities are officially certified.

Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits

  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
  • Enhanced legal protection
  • Access to higher potency strains
  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary

Because recreational marijuana will be handled in a regulatory manner that’s similar to alcohol versus the way medical marijuana is currently regulated, it’s taking some time for Ohio to work through this process. There are several regulatory-type issues they are working through, such as setting up the business infrastructure of who holds the actual license as well as how the tax revenue will work. 

Since this is such a process, and due to the provisional license date that’s currently set for September 7th, 2024, likely, Ohioans won’t be able to buy recreational marijuana until around mid-September at the earliest. 

Until then, dispensaries in limbo between the application period and September are allowed to start ramping up for recreational sales. This includes building add-ons to their storefronts as well as hiring and training additional staff to run it. 

The process of shopping for recreational marijuana is also expected to be very similar to what a medical marijuana patient would experience. 

This is good news for Ohioans who are anxiously awaiting the release of recreational marijuana to stores, since many could be ready to go as soon as they get the green light from the state. 

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

Can’t wait until September?

It might be worth looking into the easier-than-you’d-think process of obtaining a medical marijuana card. 

While we don’t know exactly how much the new tax on recreational marijuana will be, we do know it will be much more cost-effective to keep a medical marijuana card active even after recreational sales begin. 

Medical marijuana cardholders will still pay an average sales tax, while those without medical cards purchasing recreational marijuana will pay a higher state tax. 

The current language that was laid out in the ballot initiative also says it will be giving preferential treatment to medical marijuana license holders versus the adult-use recreational crowd. It’s unclear right now what that preferential treatment entails, but to our knowledge, it’s going to be another benefit to having a medical marijuana card even after the recreational sales begin at dispensaries.  

While there are a number of options for obtaining your Ohio medical marijuana card, one of the easiest and fastest is through Veriheal

The process is simple: Sign up on the website, book your appointment, talk to an MMJ doctor via video call, and receive your medical marijuana card. 

From there, it’s a very quick turnaround time once approved to register with the state and receive your medical marijuana card. From start to finish, the whole process could less than a week – sometimes even just a few days.  

Starting March 4, 2024, the payment for registering patients per the new Ohio medical cannabis program dropped to just a one-cent charge. This new discounted fee also applies to patients who decide to renew their medical cannabis card in the future. 

Once you do obtain your medical marijuana card, it’s as simple as ordering cannabis at your local dispensary and showing your medical marijuana card and state ID at pick up or when you browse the store in person. 

There’s never been a better time to get a medical marijuana card and wait out the recreational marijuana green light at dispensaries! 

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