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Starting A Medical Marijuana Business in Ohio

Medical marijuana has been an up and coming business over the last decade. When Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016, it opened up more business opportunities for our residents.
However, it can be very complicated to start any medical marijuana business. The laws are new and a bit confusing.You may accidentally find yourself in violation of these laws as a business owner. Simply not knowing about certain regulations will not be an adequate defense.

If you are thinking about starting a marijuana business, it requires a lot of research.

First, let’s take a look at the four main categories of cannabis business.


This is what most people think of when picturing a place to purchase marijuana. A dispensary is a retail store. Patients can come to a dispensary to pick up their medical marijuana.

Dispensaries must follow many state regulations, such as not being located within 500 feet of a school. They must also follow state laws in terms of labeling products and recordkeeping.

In order to start a dispensary, you must begin with the application process. The Ohio State Board of pharmacy handles processing these applications. This is the first step in eventually obtaining a certificate of operation.


These businesses are where the medical marijuana is grown and then sold. It can be sold to either a dispensary to distribute it or to a processor that will use it to make other products, like oils.

One of the hardest parts of starting a cultivation business is finding an area where you can legally grow a substantial amount of the plant.

Because recreational marijuana is still illegal, growing any marijuana without proper permits and licenses can result in serious legal consequences. As marijuana laws continue to change, this can be difficult for business owners to keep track of.


A processor business would buy marijuana from a cultivator and then use it in other products.

Examples of the products they might create include:

  • Edibles
  • Balms
  • Vaporizers
  • Pills

These products can then be sold at dispensaries.

In Ohio, there are laws about what kinds of products can be made by processors. They must not require refrigeration or heating. In other words, they must be shelf stable products.

Testing Facility

Testing facilities handle quality control for marijuana products. They do scientific testing to examine THC concentration, any bacteria that may be present in the product, heavy metals, and more.

You must also complete an application to start a testing facility. What is nice about these businesses is there is no limit on how many can be approved by the Ohio Department of Commerce. Dispensaries, cultivators, and processors are all limited by a certain number of applications awarded each year.

How Can A Cannabis Lawyer Help?

If you are interested in starting any of these four types of businesses, you should consult with a lawyer. This is a brief overview that doesn’t include the numerous regulations, rules, and steps there are to setting up (and running) a legal medical marijuana business.

You do not want to find yourself accidentally violating any drug laws.

A cannabis attorney can help you with:

  • Licenses, paperwork, processing
  • Setting up your business structure and financing
  • Zoning
  • Investor relations

They can help ensure that you are 100% compliant with Ohio state laws.

At The Meranda Law Firm LTD, we can work with you through the highly regulated world of medical marijuana. If you are looking to start a business, or want legal assistance for your current business, we are ready to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your business needs with our experienced Ohio cannabis attorneys.