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Ohio committee sets stage for June recreational cannabis sales

Nathan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau

Regulations are rolling along for Ohio’s pending recreational marijuana program, with the earliest sales likely to start as soon as next month after a state joint committee advanced rules Monday on dual licensure.

Applications for dual licenses for existing medical dispensaries to sell cannabis products to adult, non-medical customers will go live sometime between May 27 and the deadline of June 7. Once facilities get the greenlight, sales can start.

Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord), who co-chairs the joint committee on agency rule review, said in an interview last month the Division of Cannabis Control told him the turnaround time will be prompt.

“I've been assured they will be reviewed very quickly once they are filled out and returned, and they will be fairly straightforward,” Callender said.

The division is already well ahead of schedule, he said.

Existing medical dispensaries have said they plan to be prepared for day-one sales. Ohio Cannabis Co. owner Brian Wingfield said a few regulatory snags delayed them from starting medical sales in 2019—by a few weeks.

“I really wish we would have been there on that opening day; it didn't happen,” Wingfield said in an earlier interview. “I want to be on opening day this time and so we're working toward that.”

Aside from waiting and watching for the state regulations, Wingfield said they’re looking to double their staff to prepare for an influx of customers and also planning for potential shortages of some products, at least initially.

Jason Erkes, a spokesperson for marijuana wholesaler and retailer Sunnyside, said the chain has been doing hiring fairs.

“We're expecting big crowds, we're expecting big numbers,” Erkes said in an earlier interview. “We'll be ready to go the second we get permission to sell. And we will be welcoming people into our stores with open arms.”

In Callender’s eyes, lawmakers in the Ohio House made the right decision by letting “the rulemakers make the rules.”

“There's some areas that the initiated statute didn't address that as we move into a whole new sector, there will be some things we need to do,” he said. “There will be a marijuana bill at some point.”

In the meantime, more Division of Cannabis Control rules are set to go before the joint committee in the coming weeks and months.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
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