VHS vs. THC: How old video stores are helping weed businesses in Ohio

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A chain of video rental stores will now be used as cannabis dispensaries in Ohio, increasing the number of dispensaries in a state that sorely needs them.

Remember the abandoned video store near the home where you grew up in? It may now be a cannabis dispensary. At least, if you live in Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that over a dozen video rental properties belonging to Family Video are candidates for housing dispensaries and cannabis businesses. These locations will be selected through a lottery starting this Thursday, with over 1,500 applications submitted for 73 new medical cannabis licenses.

The 12 Family Video locations in question received 192 applications from various contenders. While Family Video’s parent company announced that would be shutting down operations last year, Keith Hoogland, their CEO, said that the real estate branch was still in operation. It has been contacted by a variety of cannabis businesses looking to pursue rentals.

“I think after a certain period of time, they realized they could capitalize on the situation,” said Adam Thomarios, CEO of Klutch Cannabis.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016, with dispensaries finally opening their doors in 2019. The process has been a slow and rocky one, with patients complaining over long wait times and expensive products. The addition of the 73 licenses would increase the state’s dispensaries to 130, with authorities hoping to grow the business, provide better demands to patients, and make it run smoother.

The cannabis licenses will be awarded via lottery, allowing a certain amount of licenses per district. According to authorities, this is the best method to ensure that small businesses are supported and that equity is encouraged within the cannabis industry.
Once you get past all the hurdles that nascent medical cannabis programs pose, it’s kind of awesome to realize that former video rental stores will now have a second life. Back in the day, having a video store that also sold snacks and weed would have been heaven.
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