Ohio Cannabis Law History

House Bill 523 (HB 523) legalizes the use of medical marijuana and establishes the Medical Marijuana Control Program. The bill was introduced on April 4th, 2016 by physician Representative Stephen H. Huffman (R- Tipp City) and referred to the Select Committee on Medical Marijuana in the House before being passed along to the Senate on May 10th. It was then referred to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee and passed on May 25th. HB 523 was signed on June 8th, 2016 by Governor John Kasich and became effective 90 days later, on September 8th. A summary of the bill can be found here.

Under the bill, the Department of Commerce is responsible for the licensure of cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories, while the Board of Pharmacy is charged with the licensure of retail dispensaries and the registration of patients and caregivers. The Medical Board is responsible for certifying physicians to recommend medical marijuana and may add to the list of qualifying conditions for which medical marijuana can be recommended.

HB 523 does not allow for smokable cannabis to be sold, but allows for oils, tinctures, patches and edible products in addition to marijuana plant material for vaping. Home-grow is not permitted in the State of Ohio; all medical marijuana products must be purchased from a licensed dispensary.

Qualifying Conditions

Certified physicians may only recommend medical marijuana for the following conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Key Dates

The application periods for all four types of licenses are now closed.

  • The Cultivator Level II license application period was June 5-16, 2017, and eleven (11) licenses were awarded on November 3, 2017.
  • The Cultivator Level I license application period was June 19-30, 2017, and twelve (12) licenses were awarded on November 30, 2017.
  • The Processor license application period was December 4-15, 2017.
  • The Dispensary license application period was November 3-17, 2017.

Application Fees/Start-up Costs

  • The Cultivator Level II application fee was $2,000. The initial license fee was $18,000. The annual license renewal fee is $20,000.
  • The Cultivator Level I application fee was $20,000. The initial license fee was $180,000. The annual license renewal fee is $200,000.
  • The Processor application fee was $10,000. The certificate of operation fee was $90,000. The annual license renewal fee is $100,000.
  • The Dispensary application fee was $5,000 and the biennial certificate of operation fee is $70,000.

License types

  • Cultivator Level I (larger scale) – Twelve (12) have been awarded
  • Cultivator Level II (smaller scale) – Eleven (11) have been awarded
  • Processor
  • Dispensary


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       Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service