Local medical marijuana dispensaries gearing up for recreational sale

Medical marijuana dispensaries across the region are preparing for the rollout of state-issued licenses to sell recreationally, with the application period opening next month.

Adult-use sales have been up in the air since last year, when an initiated statute approved by voters went into effect. Since then, many Ohioans 21 and over can legally grow and possess cannabis at home, but Ohioans still have nowhere to legally buy it as of this week.

Last week, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review allowed rules to proceed that clear the way for a dual licensing program that will allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to also sell non-medical marijuana products.

Division of Cannabis Control officials said the applications will be available by no later than June 7, and recreational marijuana could be available for sale in Ohio by mid-June.

There are roughly 20 dispensaries in Montgomery, Greene, Butler, Warren, Clark and Miami counties.

Pure Ohio Wellness, which operates a cultivation and processing site in Springfield and dispensaries in Dayton and London, will be pursuing dual licensing for its dispensary locations, according to chief operations officer Tracey McMillin.

“We’re ready, and we’re most excited for the opportunity to share all the information about what cannabis can do for people,” she said.

Guaranteed Dispensary, located at Wayne Avenue in Dayton, will also be among dispensaries seeking dual licensing, according to general manager Sara Hawkins.

“We are already preparing to see new faces as soon as the state approves our application,” she said. “We have 18 kiosks setup on our sales floor to help people navigate our menu and 10+ registers ready to serve. We already offer online ordering so people can view our menu ahead of time and hold items they wish to purchase later in the day when they come in.”

Dispensaries will need to take a few steps before and after submitting their applications for dual licensing, said Adam Goers, the senior vice president of corporate affairs for The Cannabist Company.

The Cannabist Company owns five Ohio locations, including Columbia Care Dayton and Monroe.

Extra training will be necessary to brush up dispensary employees on rules surrounding state-issued ID cards and how to help customers find products they want.

“I’d say from a training perspective, they’ll be looking at consumers that are maybe using cannabis for a different reason than what a medical patient has. A lot of ‘canna-curious’ people, as we call them, will come in. They maybe tried cannabis once upon a time, and now can come in and get a legal tested and trusted product. That’s one thing we’re really training our folks on.”

Goers said when dispensaries roll out recreational sales for the first time, customers should keep in mind that the first few days will be busy.

“On the first day or two you might see a short line or a slight delay in getting your adult use cannabis, and maybe one or two of the products that you wanted may be out of stock for a few days. We will quickly adjust and it’ll be back to business as usual,” Goers said.

McMillin agreed about the expected surge in demand. Pure Ohio Wellness’ cultivation and processing location in Springfield has been busy preparing for an expected spike in demand.

For medical marijuana dispensaries that exist in towns that passed moratoriums barring the sale of recreational cannabis, it’s unclear when they’ll receive dual licensing.

Moratoriums have passed in Beavercreek, Kettering, Vandalia, Miamisburg, Centerville, Springboro, Carlisle, Monroe, Xenia, Franklin, Waynesville, Tipp City and several other cities throughout Ohio.

Beavercreek’s six-month moratorium is set to expire in June. The city’s only dispensary, Harvest of Beavercreek, acknowledged but did not return a request for comment regarding its plans surrounding recreational sale.

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