Ohio Unveils Draft Rules Governing Recreational Marijuana Industry

Ohio has taken a significant step towards implementing its newly legalized adult-use cannabis market, with regulators releasing draft rules to govern recreational marijuana production and sales statewide.

The proposed regulations, issued by the Division of Cannabis Control (DCC), come on the heels of voters approving Issue 2 last November. The historic ballot measure legalized recreational marijuana possession and cultivation for adults 21 and over in the Buckeye State.

Among the key provisions in the 113-page draft rulebook are location requirements for dispensaries, which must maintain a 500-foot distance from schools, parks, playgrounds, churches, and libraries. Strict protocols governing customer access, age verification, operating hours, and security measures are also outlined.

Retail cannabis sales would be permitted daily until 11 p.m., with customers required to provide valid ID and remain accompanied by staff at all times on premises. Drive-through sales are set to be allowed as well.

Prospective operators face stringent financial obligations too, with dispensaries mandated to maintain $50,000 escrow accounts, testing labs $7,500, and large cultivators a hefty $750,000 reserve.

“These regulations include commonsense best practices for businesses in key areas like waste disposal and quality assurance, which should foster a smooth rollout,” noted cannabis attorney Brian Vicente, praising Ohio’s adoption of proven policies from earlier recreational states.

Licensed medical dispensaries could pivot to adult-use sales as early as June 7 if approved, while standalone recreational retailer licenses may be issued from September 7 onwards, per the draft timeline.

The DCC is welcoming public feedback on the proposal until April 17 before finalizing the rules, which regulators acknowledge could still be amended by state lawmakers post-implementation.

As Ohio prepares to join the bourgeoning national cannabis marketplace, this regulatory framework aims to establish a robust foundation for responsible industry oversight while providing expanded access for licensed businesses and consumers alike.

With a voter-approved mandate and comprehensive rulebook in the works, all signs point towards Ohio’s recreational market blazing towards an imminent launch in the coming months.


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