CLEVELAND — One way or another, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio is supposed to more than double in 2022.
Monday, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and Board of Pharmacy posted the list of dispensary license lottery applications in the order that they were picked on January 27. It’s part of the program’s second round of dispensary license allocations.
See the full ranked list here.
News 5 Cleveland recently reported on the real estate and application frenzy the process was creating despite the limited number of licenses available across the state, and a five-dispensary cap for any individual company.
“It kind of set in overnight,” said Klutch Cannabis Co-Founder and CEO Adam Thomarios. “We’re going to be starting up a new business, if you will. We could have 80 employees within a year’s time.”
Thomarios’ company spent at least $365,000 to submit 73 applications, before factoring a team of lawyers and other experts needed to pull the applications together.
It was an expensive lottery ticket that didn’t guarantee any return on investment. For the gamble, Klutch appears to be in position to get at least three dispensaries and potentially a fourth if applications picked before them are disqualified.
“Quite honestly, I’m shocked that we were able to be successful, at least from what it appears, [with] three sites in Northeastern Ohio,” said Thomarios.
Klutch Cannabis is in position to potentially get dispensary licenses in Lorain, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Canton, and Caldwell based on how many licenses will be awarded in each district, and where the company’s applications were picked.
It means that the Akron cultivator and processor will be able to grow, create, and sell medical marijuana to Ohioans under the brand “Citizen by Klutch.”
“We have more direct contact in order to promote our brands, talk to them and tell them which products might be best for their conditions,” said Thomarios.
Where the program sits today
The 57 operating dispensary licenses were awarded when the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program launched in 2018. Those licenses were awarded through a competitive scoring process, where each application was scored and the highest scores received licenses. Since then, patients often complained that the state’s highly regulated program didn’t give them the choice in products they wanted and that dispensaries were too far away.
In September, the department of commerce, which oversees medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and testing, and the board of pharmacy, which oversees dispensaries, announced existing cultivators would be allowed to apply to expand their space and that 73 more dispensary licenses would be awarded in a lottery system. Instead of using competitive scoring, the lottery puts all qualified applications into a pool and randomly selects the winning bids.
New dispensary timeline
Licenses aren’t locked in yet.
Now that the applications have been ranked, the state is confirming that the winning applications meet all the state requirements to get a provisional dispensary license, which would allow the companies to start building their facilities.
If applications don’t measure up, companies picked later in the lottery will get their chance.
The Board of Pharmacy tells News 5 there is no firm date for when the provisional licenses will be announced, but it hopes for an announcement in the spring at a Board of Pharmacy meeting.
Ohio has three potential paths to legal marijuana for adults working through the statehouse right now.
If any of those are successful and cannabis is available to the general public, experts say the existing dispensary operations would be able to quickly transition to capitalize on the expanded market.
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