CINCINNATI — Ohioans will soon learn if a medical marijuana shop will open in their community.
In the next month, the state is expected to award licenses to up to 60 dispensaries that will be the first in Ohio allowed to sell cannabis-based products.
In Southwest Ohio, dozens of start-ups are vying for a chance to sell the newly legal drug.
In Hartwell, Rev. Damon Lynch III has filed an application with the state to turn a former pharmacy on Vine Street into a dispensary under the business name Have a Heart Cincy. In Camp Washington, the founders of Over-the-Rhine-based Rhinegeist hope to put a dispensary on a portion of property they’re redeveloping along Spring Grove Avenue.
MAP: Here’s a look at more than 50 proposed medical marijuana dispensaries in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Warren and Montgomery counties. Fewer than eight will be awarded locally. Click on the green markers for details about the applicant.
Timing for the licensing announcement is critical: Ohio faces a Sept. 8 deadline to have its medical marijuana program up and running.
That means businesses waiting for a green light from the state will have less than six months launch their new ventures in order to be ready by September.
“We’re deeply concerned,” said James Gould of Downtown-based CannAscend, which submitted five dispensary applications. “Lots of jobs are at stake. Lots of investment capital…. The biggest concern I have is whether this business can work in Ohio.”
All told, more than 200 firms submitted dispensary applications to Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy, which will regulate the businesses. Ohio has set strict rules for how many dispensaries can open in certain parts of the state.
Hamilton County, for example, will make up a newly created Southwest Ohio District 1, where up to three dispensaries can operate. Warren, Clinton and Clermont counties make up Southwest District 5. Across all three counties just one dispensary will be allowed to open.
As the new program has rolled out, dozens of communities have taken steps to temporarily block or ban pot-related businesses from opening.
Locally, Blue Ash, Colerain Township, Fairfield, Hamilton, Liberty Township, Sharonville and West Chester Township all have rules blocking marijuana-related businesses in their areas.
The law also bans marijuana businesses from being within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds, public libraries and churches.
For now, …read more