May 15, 2024

Ohio's Adult-Use Cannabis Rollout: A New Era for the Buckeye State

Written by
Cy Scott
Published on
May 15, 2024
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Ohio is on the brink of a significant transformation in the cannabis industry. With voters approving a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana, the state is set to transition from a medical-only market to a robust adult-use market, and fast!

Accelerating the Legalization Timeline

The recent approval of regulations by the Ohio legislature's Joint Committee On Agency Rule Review (JCARR) marks a pivotal step forward. The Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) plans to start granting dual licenses to existing medical marijuana dispensaries, allowing them to serve adult consumers as early as mid-June. While regulators have until September to start issuing cannabis business licenses, efforts are underway to expedite this process. Despite Governor Mike DeWine's personal reservations about legalization, he has criticized delays in providing access to regulated marijuana products. Additionally, the DCC has eliminated registration fees for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, signaling a more inclusive approach. The Department of Commerce has also published an FAQ guide to help residents understand the new law and its implementation timeline.

Why Ohio Matters

Ohio's move to legalize adult-use cannabis is significant for several reasons. Firstly, Ohio is one of the most populous states in the Midwest, with nearly 12 million residents, making it a major player in the national cannabis market. This transition is expected to propel Ohio into the top tier of cannabis sales states, potentially rivaling markets like Michigan, which saw over $3 billion in sales last year. The state's central location in the Midwest, surrounded by states with limited or no legal cannabis options, will likely draw consumers from neighboring regions, further boosting sales. Additionally, Ohio's status as a "purple" state with a balanced political landscape means that successful implementation here could influence cannabis policy in other politically diverse states.

Maryland is a great proxy for what to expect in Ohio, with some caveats
What to Watch For

1. Sales Surge: Ohio has been averaging $40 million in monthly sales over the past year. Generally, we see a 2 to 3X increase in sales with adult-use conversion, which would put Ohio at an $85 million monthly run rate right out of the gate. This is conservative; we anticipate even higher sales due to Ohio's unique market dynamics and large population.

2. Comparing to Maryland: Maryland's recent legalization experience is a good proxy for Ohio. Maryland saw baskets grow almost 3X year-over-year immediately after legalization, even though the total transaction amount per basket decreased by 19%. Applying similar trends to Ohio suggests a robust initial surge in sales.

3. Category Dynamics: Ohio's medical market prohibits smoking, banning Pre-Rolls, a category that captures 13.4% of national sales. Expect this to change with adult use, leading to significant opportunities in the Pre-Roll category. Additionally, Ohio's unique "whole day units" result in unconventional package sizes, which will likely standardize over time.

4. Consumer Demographics: Currently, over 50% of Ohio's sales go to Generation X and older, a trend uncommon in adult-use markets. As the market transitions, we expect to see a shift towards younger demographics, similar to Maryland, where Gen X and older account for less than 40% of the market.

5. Pricing Trends: Prices in Ohio are among the highest in the U.S., but they've been decreasing steadily. We expect prices to rise temporarily with the influx of adult-use consumers before stabilizing as the market adjusts.

6. Impact on Neighboring States: Ohio's move to adult use will impact neighboring states like Michigan, which currently attracts Ohio consumers. As Ohio residents begin purchasing locally, Michigan may see a shift in its consumer base, particularly in its bordering areas.


Ohio's cannabis market is on the verge of a major expansion. The approval of adult-use marijuana is set to transform the state into a billion-dollar market, offering vast opportunities for brands and retailers. With over 100 active dispensaries and a favorable regulatory environment, Ohio is well-positioned to become a leading market in the Midwest. As the market evolves, it will be crucial to monitor trends and leverage real-time data to navigate the changing landscape. Stay tuned for more updates as Ohio's cannabis market continues to unfold.


Our insights are based on real-time sales reporting from thousands of participating cannabis retailers using Headset’s business intelligence software. This data provides a reliable picture of the market, despite the potential for minor misreporting. Our analysis includes sales from various U.S. markets, with a focus on Ohio's trajectory.

Hero image: bearclau, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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