Ohio vs. Colorado: Legal Marijuana

MiNDFUL grow facility

The following information was obtained from:

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Issue 3

Who could use marijuana?

Anyone 21 years or older with a license purchased from the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, similar to a fishing license, could use, possess, grow, cultivate and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana and four flowering marijuana plants.
Anyone 21 years or older (with or without a license) could purchase, possess, transport, use and share up to one ounce of marijuana.
Anyone with a certified debilitating medical condition could use medicinal marijuana.

What are MGCE facilities?

The amendment would create 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities. These 10 facilities would have exclusive rights to commercial production (the fact which led the Ohio General Assembly to add the competing Issue 2 to the ballot).

The MGCE facilities would be run independently to prevent collusion, as required by the Sherman Antitrust Act. There would be no vertical integration of marijuana business, meaning that those who cultivated the plants would not also sell directly to the public.

Property owners agreed to let the 300 people they expect to employ unionize and collectively bargain.

Each MGCE facility has an investor, including local celebrities:

  • Former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey
  • Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker
  • Dayton pain specialist Suresh Gupta
  • WEBN radio host Frank Wood
  • Barbara Gould, a philanthropist based in Indian Hill
  • University of Cincinnati basketball star Oscar Robertson
  • Paul Heldman, former general counsel of The Kroger Co.
  • Woody Taft, a descendant of President William Howard Taft

Ian James, the head of the ResponsibleOhio campaign in support of the amendment, required each investor to give $2 million to the campaign to get Issue 3 on the ballot. He also hired real estate agents to find 10 properties capable of industrial indoor marijuana production. Cincinnati financier James Gould played a large role in investor recruiting.

The following table displays the MGCE facilities’ name, other name, owners, where they are located and how many acres of land they own. Nine of the 10 facilities’ LLC names begin with 768, which spells out P-O-T on a telephone dial.

LLC AKA Owners County Acres
76826771 Abhang Co. LLC Dr. Suresh Gupta, Alan Mooney Licking 35.03 acres
76826772 WF Green Investments LLC William Foster, Frostee Rucker, Oscar Robertson Hamilton 24.47 acres
76826773 Grow 2015-768 LLC Bobby George Lorain 76.83 acres
76826774 DGF LLC Frank Wood Clermont 13.43 acres
76826775 Bridge Property Group LLC David Bastos Lucas 28.46 acres
76826776 Ohioven LLC Jennifer DoeDoeringring Delaware 24.95 acres
76826777 Verdure GCE LLC William “Cheney” Pruett, John Humphreys, Nick Lachey Summit 29.01 acres
76826778 NG Green Investments Nanette Lapore, Barbara Gould, Paul Heldman, Woody Taft, Dudley Taft Jr. Butler 40.44 acres
76826779 Prestoncox Industries Rick Kirk Franklin 19.12 acres
GTI Ohio GTI Investors LLC Ben Kovler, Peter Kadens Stark 27.18 acres

How would the Ohio marijuana industry work?


The measure would create an Ohio Marijuana Control Commission to regulate industrial and homegrown marijuana production, the chemical content of marijuana products, retail sales and marijuana taxation. The commission would also act as a clearinghouse for scientific research on marijuana and create a marijuana innovation and business incubator in Cuyahoga County.

Stores, dispensaries and manufacturing

Retail marijuana stores would only be allowed to sell marijuana from MGCE facilities and marijuana-infused products from licensed manufacturing facilities. Stores would not be allowed to sell marijuana or infused products for less than what the store paid for it.

The total number of marijuana retail stores in Ohio would be limited by a ratio of one store for every 10,000 Ohioans. With Ohio’s population at 11,594,163 in 2014, the amendment would allow for a maximum of 1,159 stores.

Marijuana stores would not be allowed to be located within 1,000 feet of a house of worship, public library, public or chartered elementary or secondary school, state-licensed day care center or public playground. A store’s location would also need to be approved by voters in the precinct in which the store would be located.

Medical marijuana would only be sold by licensed not-for-profit dispensaries to individuals with a doctor’s note. The Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would issue regulatory rules for these dispensaries and fund necessary operating costs.

Only licensed Marijuana Product Manufacturing, or MPM, facilities would be able to manufacture, process and package marijuana-infused products. The facilities would also be able to manufacture marijuana accessories and sell marijuana-infused products made only from marijuana purchased from licensed MGCE facilities.The control commission would regulate parts of the process such as the chemical content or potency of marijuana-infused products.


Along with general business taxes, fees and assessments, marijuana production facility gross revenue would be taxed by a flat 15 percent rate and marijuana retail stores would be taxed by a flat 5 percent rate.

The tax revenue would be split up in three ways:

  • 55 percent to the Municipal and Township Government Stabilization Fund
  • 30 percent to the Strong County Fund
  • 15 percent to the Marijuana Control Commission Fund

What’s controversial?

After Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, the issue has increasingly appeared on state ballot measures. In 2014, Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 decriminalized marijuana and Oregon’s Measure 91 legalized recreational marijuana. With a majority of Americans now supporting marijuana legalization, 2016 could see a wave of marijuana-related ballot measures.

Issue 3 also became a controversial measure because it creates a monopoly. Only 10 MGCE would have the right to grow, cultivate and extract marijuana, which led the Ohio General Assembly to legislatively refer Issue 2 to the ballot. If approved, Issue 2 would invalidate Issue 3.

Colorado: Marijuana Retailers & Home Growers

What kind of marijuana licenses are issued by the City of Denver?

Denver issues licenses for:

  • Retail Marijuana Stores
  • Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facilities
  • Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities
  • Retail Marijuana Testing Facilities
  • Medical Marijuana Centers
  • Medical Marijuana Optional Premises Cultivation Facilities
  • Medical Marijuana Infused Products Manufacturing Facilities

When did retail sales begin in licensed stores?

The first retail sales were legally authorized to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, in licensed stores, subject to inspections, hearings and other criteria.

​Who is eligible to apply for a retail marijuana license?

In Denver, only existing medical marijuana centers, manufacturers and cultivators that were operating in good standing as of Oct. 1, 2013 can apply for a retail license before Jan. 1, 2016. These facilities can convert to a retail license or add a retail license to their existing medical marijuana license.

For additional information on becoming a licensed retail store, please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue and Denver Excise & Licenses.

What is the process for transitioning a medical marijuana center license into a retail store license?

A retail store in Denver must be licensed by the state and the city, which includes completing a public hearing and required inspections.

Please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue and Denver Excise & Licenses for more information on the process.

How do I verify a license?

To verify the status of a medical or retail marijuana business license located in Denver please contact Denver Excise & Licenses by calling 311 (or 720-913-1311 if outside Denver). Please have the business name, address, or business file number of the requested license available.

How do I modify an existing license?

To make a physical modification to an existing licensed premise, transfer the location of your license to new premises, or change the ownership of an existing license you must complete the required application process with the city and the state.

Any proposed physical modification and any new location to which an existing licensed business is transferred must fully comply with spacing and zoning requirements and will require another round of inspections. If you plan on making a physical modification of the premises, you must contact Denver Development Services to obtain the proper construction permits and get all required inspections to receive the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or final approval before you can occupy a building. Additionally, any change in the use of a building may require a new zoning permit and the Denver Fire Department requires operational permits for the installation of new systems.

Do I need a license to transport marijuana?

Yes. The only persons authorized to transport marijuana or marijuana products are those licensed by the State Licensing Authority and Denver Excise & Licenses.

How are inspections conducted?

Once all application forms and requirements are satisfactorily completed, Denver Excise & Licenses will issue an Inspection Card to the applicant. Applicants must schedule and complete inspections with the following City of Denver departments prior to issuance of the license:

  • Fire Department
  • Environmental Health
  • Community Planning & Development – Neighborhood Inspections Services
  • Community Planning & Development – Building Department
  • Excise & Licenses
  • Any construction (i.e., new walls, electrical circuits, grow lights, commercial kitchen appliances, mechanical work, etc.) requires construction permits. All construction permits are required to be finalized and you must receive a Certificate of Occupancy or final approval prior to issuance of a business license. Before submitting an application for licensing or occupying a building, you must obtain a zoning permit for use from Community Planning & Development’s zoning permit counter and ensure that the proposed location is in full compliance with spacing and zoning requirements.

What kind of products can a retail marijuana store sell?

A retail marijuana store may only sell “retail marijuana,” as defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, which has been sourced from a licensed Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility or a Retail Marijuana Products Manufacturing Facility. A retail marijuana store may not sell or give away any consumable product that is not a retail marijuana product including, but not limited to, cigarettes or tobacco products, alcohol beverages, and non-alcohol beverages or food products that are not retail marijuana product.

How much marijuana can be sold to an individual in a retail store?

Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time.

Non-residents are limited to ¼ ounce.

How are marijuana-infused foods regulated?

Marijuana-infused food operations must comply with the Denver Food Establishment Rules and Regulations just as all other food businesses do, as well as with any applicable state regulations. They are also subject to inspection by the Food Safety Section of the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s Public Health Inspection Division.

Marijuana-infused food operations that manufacture food in Denver must obtain the Denver MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) license.

​Please visit the State Department of Revenue and the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses for more information on the process.

Can I legally grow marijuana at home?

Yes. Adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person, with no more than 3 in the mature/flowering stage at any time. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence regardless of the number of adults living there. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area.

Take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to the marijuana plants. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. Children and pets should be kept away from plants at all times.

Is there a limitation on the number of plants that I can grow at my home?

Yes. Adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person, with no more than 3 in the mature/flowering stage at any time. No more than 12 total plants are allowed per residence, regardless of the number of adults living there.

Can I sell home-grown marijuana to others?

Home grown marijuana, no matter the form, may not be sold to others.

Take extra precautions to ensure that only authorized adults have access to marijuana plants. You must be 21 and older to have or use retail marijuana. Children and pets should be kept away from plants at all times.

Is it legal to grow plants outside?

Marijuana must be grown in a fully enclosed and locked space, whether indoors or outdoors.

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