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Ohio Marijuana Cultivation License

Yes. House Bill 523 mandates that medical marijuana growers in Ohio get growing licenses before being able to lawfully operate. The bill gives three state organizations the authority to oversee the Medical Marijuana Control Program in the state. Manufacturers, testing labs, and cultivators of medical cannabis are granted licenses by the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Growers of medical marijuana are forbidden under House Bill 523 from growing cannabis on any public property or within 500 feet of a public playground, park, school, childcare facility, or church. It is legal for licensed marijuana farmers to produce cannabis and sell it to other businesses in the state or deliver it to processors. However, they are prohibited from cultivating cannabis for personal use by House Bill 523’s restrictions. Furthermore, the Ohio Revised Code’s Title 37, Chapter 3796 permits the Department of Commerce to provide cannabis growing licenses in proportion to the number of eligible patients who apply for medical marijuana cards. When giving cultivator licenses, the Department also takes the entire population of Ohio into account.

What Kinds of Ohio Cultivation Licenses Are There?

Under the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, applicants are granted two types of cultivation permits by the Ohio Department of Commerce. These are the following:

  1. Level I grower licenses: Cannabis cultivators with level I licenses are permitted to grow up to 25,000 square feet of marijuana.
  2. Licenses for Level II cultivators: These growers are permitted to cultivate marijuana on a 3,000-square-foot initial cultivation space.

However, growers that are ranked as level I or level II may apply to the Department of Commerce for an expansion, which would enable them to cultivate cannabis on a bigger plot of land. Licenses to cultivate medical marijuana are good for one year. As a result, license holders need to reapply every year.

Medical Cannabis Processor License

With an Ohio medical cannabis processor license, the licensee can:

  • Purchase medical marijuana from growers who have been granted a license.
  • Prepare medical marijuana that has been purchased from growers with a license so that it can be distributed.
  • Supply authorized retail shops with processed medical marijuana or sell them one.

Three kinds of cannabis processing facilities are licensed by Ohio: vertically integrated processors, standalone processors, and plant-only processors.

Who in Ohio is Allowed to Grow Cannabis?

Ohio allows the legal cultivation of medical marijuana, however, only those with a license are permitted to cultivate marijuana plants. To be eligible for an Ohio marijuana growing license, a candidate must be at least 21 years old. The Ohio Revised Code’s Section 4776.04 mandates that potential cannabis farm workers agree to criminal background checks. Before they may work in a marijuana cultivation facility, they must be at least 21 years old and get identity cards from the Department of Commerce. Additionally, it is against the law for convicted felons to operate on cannabis cultivation facilities in Ohio, as stated in Section 3796.13 of the Ohio Revised Code.

How to Obtain an Ohio Cannabis Cultivation License?

Ohio Department of Commerce is the place where prospective medical marijuana farmers in Ohio can submit licensing applications. The Ohio Administrative Code’s Chapter 3796:2-1 gives the Department the authority to set application deadlines. The dates and times that the Department will begin taking applications must be made public before. However, before the submission date, the Ohio Department of Commerce Director can change the application notice. A notice of application may also be canceled by the Director before the start of the appointed term.

Every application needs to adhere to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3796’s rules. In general, applicants must send the following to the Ohio Department of Commerce to be considered for both level I and level II cultivator licenses:

  • A non-refundable license application fee as specified by Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3796:5-1-01. Level applicants I cultivator licenses must pay $20,000, while those for level II licenses must pay $2,000 in application costs. They have the option of paying the Ohio Treasurer of State with certified checks or money orders.
  • A plan of business: This is necessary to give details about the applicant’s background in business and capacity to oversee the planned cultivation operation. It should include information regarding the type of business entity, evidence of registration with the Ohio Secretary of State, the proposed location of the facility, and personal information about the applicant and other important facilities.
  • Operations plan: In this area, details regarding the intended production schedule, product chronology, growing technique, and the applicant’s agricultural experience should be included. The proposed business’s rules and procedures for guaranteeing the sustainability, safety, and security of the medical cannabis production process must also be included in the operations plan.
  • Financial plan: The financial plan should demonstrate the licensee’s capacity to manage the cultivation facility financially. It should include projected cultivation operating expenses as well as finance sources. Additionally, the plan must demonstrate that the applicant can meet the requirements for financial responsibility outlined in Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3796:2-1-05.
  • Proof showing the potential licensee has either purchased or leased the real estate on which the business will be located. Any use restrictions that would prevent the applicant from operating their cannabis production operation must be removed from the property lease or ownership agreement.
  • A location map of the planned cannabis cultivation site demonstrates that it is at least 500 feet far from public parks, schools, and other public areas. To meet this criteria, candidates must mark their maps.
  • Documentation demonstrating that the applicant has enough money to run the proposed establishment. A minimum of $500,000 is needed for level I cultivation licenses and a minimum of $50,000 is needed for level II cultivator licenses. Licensed certified public accountants in the state of Ohio may sign statements attesting to the availability of the fund and submitting them to the Ohio Department of Commerce. Keep in mind that the report must be issued by the accountant thirty days before the date of the license application.
  • The tax payment records of the applicant from three years before the application date. Every person or organization with more than 1% ownership in the prospective cultivation facility may also be asked to provide the Department of Commerce with their tax payment history.

Applicants must personally provide all necessary paperwork and application payments to the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Medical Marijuana Control Program at the following address, either in person or through a representative:

Ohio Department of Commerce

Vern Riffe Center

77 South High Street, 23rd Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

Depending on the type of application, the applicant will receive a provisional level I or level II license after their licensing application is granted. After paying the relevant cost to the Department of Commerce, they can receive their certificate of operation. Before packing and delivering cannabis plants to state-licensed dispensaries, marijuana growers are required to secure plant-only processing permits. Generally, all cultivators are notified by the Department of the application procedures for plant-only processor licenses.

How Much Does Ohio Cost for Cannabis Cultivation Licenses?

The Ohio Administrative Code’s Rule 3796:5-1-01 states that the price of getting a medical marijuana cultivation license in Ohio varies based on the kind of license. The cost ramifications are:

  • The level I cultivator license requires a $20,000 non-refundable application fee.
  • License for Level II cultivators: $2,000 non-refundable application cost

The prospective licensee must pay the following amount when the Department of Commerce approves their licensing application to receive their certificate of operation:

  • $180,000 for level I cultivator licenses and a certificate of operation
  • $18,000 for level II cultivator permits and a certificate of operation

The following costs are required of license holders for their yearly renewal:

  • Level I cultivator license renewal fees is $200,000 for certificates of operation.
  • Level II cultivator license renewal fees are $20,000 for certificates of operation.

For level I and level II growing operations, the Department of Commerce issues employee identification cards for marijuana cultivation, for which there is a $100 cost. There is a $100 non-refundable fee associated with each employee identity card renewal, which is mandatory every two years.

The following extra payments, which vary based on the kind of cultivator license, must be paid by medical marijuana growers with plant-only processing licenses:

  • Level I cultivator: $5,000 for the yearly license renewal and $5,000 upon approval of the plant-only processing license.
  • $500 for the yearly renewal of the plant-only processor license and $500 upon approval for Level II cultivators.

Is It Possible for Ohio’s Licensed Cannabis Growers to Own Multiple Licenses?

Those who apply for level I cultivator licenses are prohibited from applying for level II licenses by Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3796:2-1-02. In the same way, one cannot apply for a level I license after applying for a level II license. Licensees for cannabis production are also prohibited from holding licenses for cannabis laboratory testing, as stated in Ohio Revised Code Section 3796.09. Additionally, they are not allowed to invest in companies that run cannabis testing laboratories.


Ohio allows cannabis cultivators to apply for cultivator licenses. So, if you are thinking of operating a cannabis business in Ohio, you have to apply for the license first.

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