Health Law Matters

Tips for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Business Applicants

Ohio Medical Marijuana Business

Only 13! That is the percentage of applicants who will ultimately receive an Ohio medical marijuana cultivators’ license.

Ohio received a high number of applications – 185 – for the 24 medical marijuana cultivation licenses available. 109 were received for the 12 licenses available to operate a 25,000-square foot facility and 76 were received for the 12 licenses available to operate a 3,000-square foot facility. With the non-refundable application fees in the thousands of dollars, those applicants with less-than-perfect submittals can kiss their money goodbye.

This was the first installment of applications solicited by the State of Ohio for those interested in participating in the budding medical marijuana industry and the competition looks fierce. The numbers should indicate to prospective medical marijuana processor, testing laboratory, or dispensary license applicants that their applications will need to stand out to be awarded a license.

The applications must be prepared with attention to detail to ensure they are as persuasive as possible. This process can be daunting, typically requiring the submission of a business plan, operations plan, and financial plan along with a non-refundable fee. Some tips for future medical marijuana processor, testing laboratory, and dispensary license applicants:

  1. Ensure that the locality for your proposed medical marijuana location has not enacted any restrictions limiting or prohibiting a medical marijuana facility in the area.
  2. Read the question and answer documents (Session 1 Q & A, Session 2 Q & A) released by the Ohio Department of Commerce during the cultivator license application period. These documents provide answers to commonly asked questions by those who submitted cultivator applications and will most likely be helpful to prospective processor, testing laboratory, and dispensary licensees.
  3. Pay attention to dates. The final rules governing medical marijuana processor, testing laboratory, and dispensary licenses must be adopted by September 8, 2017. The final rules for cultivators were adopted in early May of 2017, giving applicants only around six weeks to submit their application.

If the medical marijuana cultivators’ application process was any indication, Ohio expects to receive a high volume of applications for the small number of processor, testing laboratory, and dispensary licenses available. For more information on Ohio’s medical marijuana law or the application process, contact Brian Higgins or any member of Frost Brown Todd’s Heath Care Industry Team.

*This does not constitute legal advice. Please note that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and those participating in Ohio’s medical marijuana industry may be subject to federal prosecution.

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Attorney Spotlight

Brian F. Higgins is an associate in FBT's regulated business group with a focus on health care, and he has a history as corporate counsel to Medpace, Inc., a pharmaceutical clinical research organization.