Ohio's aspiring marijuana growers: A closer look

Long-time natives and carpetbaggers. Construction magnates, toy tycoons, an Olympian and an heir to the Jim Beam whiskey fortune.

These are some of investors vying to win approval to grow medical marijuana in Ohio. The state accepted 185 applications in June and now has to decide who gets the 24 cultivator licenses available.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed last year, allows people with 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy, to purchase and use marijuana after getting a doctor’s recommendation. The law doesn’t allow smoking.

Ohio has some of the country’s highest licensing fees. Small growers pay $2,000 to apply and $18,000 in licensing fees, while large growers pay $20,000 to apply and $180,000 in licensing. The applications will be scored out of 100 points based on their business plans, cultivation methods and past industry experience.

The estimated cost of opening a facility runs from the hundreds of thousands...

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