Ohio unveils draft rules for applying for adult-use cannabis licenses

The Ohio Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) has released draft rules for the application process for adult-use cannabis licenses. The rules, which were published on February 15, 2024, are part of the implementation of the adult-use cannabis legalization initiative that was approved by 57% of Ohio voters in November 2023. The rules aim to meet the deadline of September 7, 2024, by which the DCC is required to issue provisional licenses for adult-use cannabis businesses.

The draft rules specify that existing medical cannabis businesses and provisional license holders can apply for a dual-use license to serve both the medical and adult-use markets. The application for a dual-use license will be “simple” and take “minimal time” to complete, according to the DCC. The application will not require a fee, and will not include any additional requirements or qualifications, other than those already established for the medical cannabis program. The draft rules also state that the DCC will prioritize the review and approval of the dual-use applications, in order to ensure a smooth transition and a sufficient supply of cannabis products for both markets.

A detailed and competitive application for new adult-use cannabis businesses

The draft rules also outline the application process for new adult-use cannabis businesses, which will be more detailed and competitive than the dual-use application. The application for a new adult-use license will require a fee, which will vary depending on the type of license. The application will also include various requirements and qualifications, such as background checks, financial statements, business plans, security plans, and social equity plans. The draft rules also state that the DCC will use a scoring system to evaluate and rank the applications, based on criteria such as experience, diversity, community engagement, and environmental sustainability.

A public comment period and a final version of the rules

The draft rules are open for public comment until February 27, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. The DCC will review and consider the comments, and will publish the final version of the rules by June 7, 2024. The DCC will also make the application forms available by that date. The draft rules are subject to change, and the DCC encourages the public and the stakeholders to provide feedback and suggestions.

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