COLUMBUS, Ohio (NEWSnet/AP) — Recreational pot sales are becoming closer to reality in Ohio.

The state Division of Cannabis Control began accepting applications Friday for new dual licenses that will allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to also sell cannabis for recreational use.

This step was among the provisions in an Ohio voter initiative during 2023. Under the new law, Ohioans over 21 could legally grow and possess adult-use marijuana at home within certain limits.

But there has yet to be anywhere in the state to legally buy it.

State regulators won’t say how long license approvals could take, but those who have helped put together rules for the program believe the first sales could come by mid-June. That’s because the dual license option will allow Ohio’s network of about 132 medical pot dispensaries to expand their sales opportunities.

An industry representative told legislators last month that many stores are busy preparing for the conversion.

“We’re very excited about Ohio. Ten million person population here in the state, so it’s a big, big opportunity for us,” Trip McDermott, chief operating officer of Verano, said at the company’s cultivation facility in Canton.

Ohio’s system for legal marijuana purchases calls for a 10% tax. Sales revenue is to be divided between administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries, and paying for social equity and jobs programs supporting the cannabis industry itself.

But the plan remains subject to change by state lawmakers.

For example. legislators have discussed setting other limits on the state’s new recreational marijuana program, including adding protections against advertising aimed at children.

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