The industry has been growing exponentially since the state's first dispensaries opened for business in April 2019. Initial sales were extremely modest, averaging around $1 million to $2 million a week throughout the rest of the year. But even with that slow start, the industry grew by 273% in its first year of operation, creating over 4,300 new jobs and surpassing $102 million in sales by April 20, 2020.
Things have only gotten better since then. All-time sales climbed to $277 million by the end of 2020, and more than doubled again to $658 million by the end of 2021. And on September 18th, 2022, the industry broke its first billion-dollar record with an all-time sales total of $1,000,047,483. By that date, dispensaries had sold 118,978 pounds of weed in 7.65 million separate transactions. Dispensaries tallied another $8.7 million in sales last week as well, indicating that demand will remain strong throughout the rest of this year.
And next year's sales prospects seem even brighter. This May, state regulators selected 70 new medical cannabis dispensary licenses via a lottery system, doubling the total number of dispensaries in the state. These new retailers, which are expected to open early next year, will create even more jobs and vastly expand access to medical pot.
Regulators predict that the new dispensaries will help boost sales considerably, but lawmakers are also debating a bill that could push annual sales to well over $1 billion a year. This legislation would allow doctors to recommend cannabis to treat any condition that they see fit, bypassing the limited number of qualifying conditions imposed by the current law. The state Senate passed the bill last December, but it is currently still being debated in the House.
If the bill does pass, Ohio's cannabis industry will have a shot at rivaling Oklahoma, the only state that currently allows doctors to recommend weed for any illness. This progressive law has helped the state's medical pot industry sell over $70 million worth of medicine a month, a total that rivals most adult-use states. And although lawmakers are desperately trying to rein in the industry, Oklahoma currently has 56 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents, again outpacing many adult-use states.
Ohio also has a serious chance of legalizing adult-use cannabis next year as well. A local activist group successfully collected enough signatures to place a legalization initiative on this year's election ballot, but a state court ruled that they did not submit the petition in time. The court has agreed that the group can place the measure on next year's ballot without having to collect signatures again, however.
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