Ohio Marijuana Licenses Getting Bought and Sold
Since the expiration of a one-year waiting period, Ohio medical marijuana dispensary licenses are being bought and sold on the open market. At the start of 2021, eight licensed dispensaries had been acquired so far, some by multi-state operators.
After a year-long waiting period, licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio are trading hands. Several Ohio cannabis businesses have been bought and sold. According to the Cleveland Business Journal, eight licensed dispensaries have been purchased, and three more dispensaries are on the market. Also, two cultivation operations and six medical-marijuana dispensaries have been sold.
Under Ohio marijuana laws, dispensary owners were prohibited from selling their businesses for a at least one year after opening their doors. Although the state’s medical marijuana program was approved by voters in 2016, Ohio medical marijuana sales didn’t kick off until January 2019. Regulators approved their first dispensary acquisition on Sept. 1st, 2020. (The waiting period doesn’t apply to other types of marijuana businesses such as processors and cultivators.)
Standard Wellness acquires Madison Country dispensary
A dispensary owned by Pure Ohio Wellness LLC was recently acquired by Ohio-based Standard Wellness LLC for an undisclosed amount. This transaction was approved by the state of Ohio on Oct. 29th 2020, a few weeks after Madison County’s Pure Ohio dispensary opened for business. Pure Ohio is the only legal medical marijuana dispensary in Madison County outside of London, Ohio.
Pure Ohio owner Larry Pegram, a retired motorcycle racer, said the sale provides his company with capital to expand its recently launched marijuana processing plant which is attached to its Springfield cultivation facility. “The London dispensary is kind of our signature store,” Pegram said. “(Selling Springfield) gives us the ability to produce more product.”
A Canadian medical-marijuana company, along with a northern Ohio operator also purchased a basket of dispensaries last fall. Additionally, a multi-state operator recently announced its intention to take a number of dispensaries off the hands of Central Ohio-based Hondros.
Recent Ohio dispensary acquisitions include the following:
- Canadian publicly traded company Body and Mind purchased Clubhouse dispensary in Elyria for $3.1 million.
- Standard Wellness, a well known Ohio company purchased Pure Ohio Wellness in Springfield.
- Cresco Labs, a company out of Illinois purchased four out of five of the dispensaries owned by Verdant Creations in their Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marion and Newark locations.
- A grow operation in Akron, formerly owned by Massachusetts-based Calyx Peak Cox., was purchased by Akron-based Klutch Cannabis.
- In May 2019, Curaleaf, a Massachusetts-based company announced a potential deal to purchase Ohio Grown Therapies in Johnstown, Ohio. At this time, the outcome of the deal is still unknown.
The future looks bright for Ohio’s cannabis industry as Advocates look to 2022
Ohio is the 7th most populated state in the U.S. If Ohio were to legalize marijuana it could become a major player in the North American cannabis market. Although eight petitions to legalize marijuana have been certified by authorities over the past five years, only one has made it onto a ballot.
In 2015 Ohio voters rejected a push to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. However, the measure was controversial and drew criticism not only from detractors but also from cannabis advocates. The proposal’s licensing provisions would have given a near-monopoly on cultivation to the same investors who had funded the ballot initiative.
Although a 2015 Quinnipiac University poll showed that 53 percent of Ohio voters were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, the measure was rejected by a margin of 2 to 1.
At the beginning of 2020, advocates were working toward putting legalization on the November ballot. A formal initiative proposal even was filed in early March. Unfortunately, the effort stalled because social distancing measures made signature-gathering risky.
Although a federal judge ruled that activists could collect signatures electronically and extended the deadline to from July 1 to July 31, it wasn’t enough to save the campaign. Advocates are now looking towards the 2022 election.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment voter initiative called for an amendment to Ohio’s constitution. It would have cleared the way for up to 200 recreational marijuana dispensaries.
Here’s why this matters: Under the proposal, the state’s more than 100 medical marijuana businesses would have first dibs on recreational sales. That makes any existing medical marijuana dispensary licenses extremely valuable.
One of the main opponents to legalizing marijuana in Ohio is governor Mike DeWine. However, if the measure passes, because it would invoke a constitutional amendment, DeWine would not be able to veto legislation offhand.