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What is the Cost of an Ohio Medical Marijuana Industry License?

Published: Feb 17, 2017 by John Izzo

The Ohio Department of Commerce regulates medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy regulates medical marijuana dispensaries and maintains a database of patients for whom medical marijuana has been recommended, as well as their caregivers. The State Medical Board of Ohio regulates physicians who can recommend medical marijuana to patients.

No one who participates in the medical marijuana program in Ohio will do so for free. Even patients and their caregivers, who will have to obtain a registry identification card from the Pharmacy Board, will have to pay $50 annually. If the patient is indigent or a veteran, the fee is reduced to $25 annually.

All rules are currently in the drafting stages. The rules of each agency will determine how much it costs to be a cultivator, processor, testing laboratory, or a dispensary. The following fees are proposed at this time and are subject to change.

Until September 2018, the Department of Commerce can issue 12 Level I and 12 Level II cultivator provisional licenses. This is discretionary; less licenses can be issued. Level I cultivators can farm up to 25,000 square feet, while Level II cultivators can farm up to 3,000 square feet. The application fee is $20,000 for Level I licenses and $2,000 for Level II. The applicants who are awarded provisional licenses will pay $180,000 and $18,000 for Level I and Level II, respectively. The licensing process for cultivators alone will raise over $2.6 million dollars for the state.

Beginning September 2018, the Department of Commerce can issue up to 40 processor provisional licenses. There is a $20,000 application fee and $180,000 fee if the applicant is granted a provisional license. This process will likely raise over $8 million for the state.

The Department of Commerce has not disclosed how many testing laboratories will be licensed. Their application fee is $2,000 and their provisional license fee is $18,000.

The Pharmacy Board is proposing 60 dispensary licenses. The application fee is $5,000. Applicants who are granted a certificate to operate a dispensary will pay a licensing fee of $80,000 biennially. This could result in over $5 million collected by the pharmacy board in the first year of licensing.

Based upon these number, the Department of Commerce and the Pharmacy Board will take in over $15 million the first year licensing occurs in the medical marijuana program. These fees are in addition to the financial responsibility (escrow accounts and bonds) applicants must maintain.

In addition, there are many other fees including the licensing of employees of cultivators, processors, laboratories, and dispensaries. These can run anywhere from $50 to $250 per year, plus application fees.

If you have any questions about the medical marijuana control program, including the application and licensing process, you should consider contacting an attorney at Graff & McGovern. John Izzo of Graff & McGovern can be reached at 614-228-5800, extension 5.