COLUMBAS, Ohio – Applications for medical marijuana dispensaries to serve both medical and recreational customers in Ohio must open by Friday, June 7, say regulators, though it is not expected that dispensaries will begin selling products by this coming Saturday. Ohio voters overwhelmingly legalized recreational cannabis in November 2023.

Jamie Crawford, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Commerce, recently said that dual-use applications for existing medical marijuana dispensaries that want to sell recreational cannabis products should be available by June 7. told Benzinga financial news service.

What Needs To Be Done?

The Ohio Division of Cannabis Control, under the leadership of superintendent James Canepa, stressed the need for a thorough verification process before medical marijuana dispensaries can start serving recreational customers. This includes ensuring businesses have updated security measures, functioning point-of-sale systems that differentiate between medical and recreational customers and correctly permitted new employees, among other requirements, reported

Canepa likened the opening of dispensaries for recreational customers to a bell curve. Initially, a few dispensaries will quickly open to recreational customers, followed by a period of several months where the majority will gradually open. Eventually, there will be a few that take longer to open.

“That’s the trickle in the beginning. Then most, not that they’re not ready but that they’re a little more thoughtful about the scale for a new customer base,” he said. Some dispensaries may receive state approval but choose to delay their opening until they are confident in their product supply, staffing, or to avoid long lines, aiming to ensure a smooth customer experience.

Growers & Processors Also Make Changes To Serve Recreational Weed Market

In addition to dispensaries, cultivators and processors licensed under the state medical marijuana program also require adult-use licenses before they can sell to dispensaries. These applications also need to submitted online by this Friday.

Canepa, who previously supervised the Ohio Division of Liquor Control for six years, refrained from committing to specific dates for when the first dispensaries will open. Speculation about recreational marijuana being available by mid-June, July 4 or even the end of the year remain uncertain. Canepa says he wants to stay focused on meeting statutory deadlines, which mandate application publication by June 7 and approval or denial by September 7.

“Everybody keeps trying to get me to circle a day, and it’s impossible because like with liquor, you have to process the applicants as they are,” he said. “You have to take them as they come to you. And there’s a whole checklist that they have to meet.”

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