1,463 applicants for 73 dispensary licenses

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy received over 1,400 applications for new medical marijuana dispensary licenses as officials aim to expand the program.

Applications were due Thursday for 73 licenses, which would more than double the number of dispensaries across Ohio. A spokesman said the board got 1,463 completed applications by the deadline.

A list of applicants was not immediately available.

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The expansion would bring the total of licenses allowed to 130, up from an initial limit of 60. Licenses will be allocated by county or cluster of counties across the state, with nine going to businesses in Franklin County, eight in Hamilton County and two in Summit County.

Unlike the first round of dispensary licenses awarded in 2018, the pharmacy board will choose licensees through a lottery of qualified applicants. Applications will be evaluated for meeting security, financial and operational requirements. Applicants paid a $5,000 fee per application.

In 2018, the board used a merit-based system in which applications – 370 submitted – were scored on several criteria and ranked. The process took six months and prompted lawsuits from unsuccessful applicants.

Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

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