Want to run one of Ohio’s medical marijuana dispensaries? Amass $375,000 to start, plus real estate

by Robin Ann Morris on

The $5,000 application fee is the smallest asset needed to seek certification as one of Ohio’s 60 medical marijuana dispensaries.

Prospective dispensary operators will need ready access to at least $375,000 in capital as well as a deed or lease to the proposed facility, according to application materials released this week by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

That’s likely just the start: A Licking County group earlier reported spending $750,000 toward applying for one of 12 large-scale cultivator licenses.

That investor group, led by Johnstown botanical extractor manufacturer Andy Joseph, has said it also would apply to operate dispensaries. Former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith is part of a Cleveland group that also has signaled intent to apply.

Besides the nonrefundable $5,000, applicants must show proof of having $250,000 to cover first-year expenses. If selected, they must pay $70,000 for the certificate of operations before opening; that’s a recurring fee every two years.

Also required is a $50,000 escrow account or surety bond, which the state dips into only if the dispensary doesn’t comply with tax or other rules. (Cash goes into an escrow, while a surety bond is more like insurance with a percentage of the total paid up front.)

Also required is proof of a deed or lease on the proposed facility, architectural design plans and certification from the municipality that the property is zoned correctly and there’s no local marijuana moratorium.

Owners, officers, board members and others with significant financial interest or influence must submit fingerprints for criminal background checks, adding $46 in fees apiece. The 40-page application calls for a business plan and detailed accounts including employee duties, inventory control, security, safety and applicant expertise.

Franklin and Cuyahoga counties each are slated for five dispensaries, the most of any one county, according to final districts that don’t differ much from a draft. A four-county region including Delaware and Licking County get three and there are nine licenses for the rest of the state’s southeast quadrant.

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Written by: Robin Ann Morris

Founder & CEO at MaryJane Agency, LLC

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