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420 with CNW — Ohio Companies Prepare for Recreational Cannabis Sales Launch

Ohio’s move from solely medical cannabis sales to also allowing recreational sales is taking a unique path compared to other states. The specific date for the start of recreational sales remains unclear, even though the application period for converting medical cannabis licenses to dual-use began on June 7, 2024. Industry insiders anticipate that the first dual-use licenses might be approved in the coming weeks, but state officials have not confirmed this timeline.

Ohio’s regulators are also prioritizing applications from testing labs, cultivators and processors over retailers. This means cannabis businesses and consumers will see approvals happen in stages based on when applications are submitted and whether applicants meet all necessary criteria, such as inspections and POS systems that differentiate between recreational and medical sales.

Projections suggest that Ohio’s marijuana sales could surpass $1 billion by 2025 and potentially reach $2 billion by 2028. The state’s sizable population (nearly 12 million people) and strategic location are key factors in this growth, likely drawing in many new consumers despite a decline in medical cannabis patients.

Of the five states Ohio borders, only Michigan has licensed recreational cannabis sales. Other states, including Wisconsin and Indiana, still don’t have any form of regulated cannabis program, which could also boost Ohio’s market. Minnesota, meanwhile, is preparing to launch its recreational cannabis market next year.

The move to recreational sales in Ohio was spurred by a voter-approved ballot initiative in a November 2023 special election. When Ohio issues its first recreational licenses, it will become the 21st state in the United States to do so, following Maryland and Missouri, which began their recreational markets in July and February of 2023, respectively. The gap between these launches is the longest seen since the first states legalized recreational cannabis more than 10 years ago.

As the state prepares for the new market, its medical-cannabis sector has seen a decline in sales and patient numbers. The latest figures show 165,746 registered patients, a drop of nearly 15,000 since last November. For comparison, Pennsylvania, with a similar population size, had more than 441,000 registered patients as of April, a figure that has increased by more t han 6,000 since November.

One reason for the decline in Ohio’s medical-cannabis patients could be the lower prices in Michigan, where many Ohio residents purchase their products. In 2023, Ohio’s medical-cannabis dispensaries reported sales of $484 million, a modest 1% increase from the previous year. To support the market, Ohio regulators reduced the fee for caregiver and patient cards to just one cent in March.

Most operators are expected to apply for dual-use licenses. According to the voter-approved law, the converted licenses must be issued by September 7, 2024. Regulators also need to complete the recreational market guidelines by this date. Until then, the market will adhere to medical cannabis standards, delaying the availability of pre-rolls and the increase of THC potency caps on concentrates. Smoking accessories such as rolling papers and delivery services are also restricted.

The wider marijuana industry, including leading entities such as Software Effective Solutions Corp. (d/b/a MedCana) (OTC: SFWJ), have their eyes on Ohio and are rooting for this latest addition to the adult-use markets to launch without major hiccups such as those that have dogged the market in New York State.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Software Effective Solutions Corp. (d/b/a MedCana) (OTC: SFWJ) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/SFWJ

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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