Recreational Marijuana sales one step closer

Recreational Marijuana sales one step closer

Ohio's recently legalized recreational marijuana industry is taking its next step.

Why it matters: The sale of recreational marijuana is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax revenue, while increasing sales for cannabis retailers, which have seen a multimillion-dollar decline.

Driving the news: On Friday, Ohio's Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) will open dual-use applications for existing medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling to adult-use recreational customers.

Catch up quick: Voters approved a law legalizing recreational sales last November.

  • After extensive legislative debate, the state's Joint Committee on Agency Rule approved the process for retailers to apply for dual-use medical and recreational dispensary licenses last month.

How it works: Existing medical marijuana dispensaries will have to show they meet security requirements.

  • They will also need to develop a sales system that can distinguish between medical and recreational customers, with the latter charged a 10% excise tax on purchases.

Between the lines: The application process opens up as the DCC's monthly report shows that medical marijuana sales in Ohio for April were $32.3 million, down from $46.7 million in April 2023.

What they're saying: Jeff McCourt, founder and CEO of Firelands Scientific, a medical dispensary with five Ohio locations, attributes some of that decline to patients' not renewing their medical marijuana cards in anticipation of buying through the recreational program.

  • There were 178,703 patients with an active registration at the end of October 2023. That number was down to 165,756 at the end of May.
  • "We don't know how much business will grow with recreational sales," McCourt tells Axios. "But we're preparing for the best case of a strong influx for adult use and growing our staff to accommodate additional volume."

What's next: The ODCC hasn't given an exact timeline for how long it will take to process applications. Lawmakers have said sales could begin by July 4.

  • The state has until Sept. 7 to approve or deny an application.

The bottom line: "Between the vote in November and [the application process], it's been a momentous journey," McCourt says.

  • "There are still some unknowns as to how this is going to come together, but it does feel like a tremendous amount of progress has been made."

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Region: Ohio

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