A statewide drawing this month will reveal if Portage County is getting a marijuana dispensary

Image of a non-descript building on the side of a state route
The building at 554 N. Chestnut St. in Ravenna was listed as the site of almost 20 medical marijuana dispensaries in their applications to the state board. Image via Google

Forget the Powerball. The state of Ohio has another drawing set for Jan. 27, and this one could result in up to three medical marijuana dispensaries in Portage County.

After dividing the state into multi-county districts, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy reviewed the distribution of dispensaries across the state and determined where more are needed. Companies are invited to apply, and the board will hold a drawing (literally) to determine the winners.

Portage County is in Northeast District 5, which also includes Geauga and Lake Counties. By the end of the application period, 71 requests were submitted for NED5, and 27 of those were for locations in Portage County.

The applicants and proposed dispensary locations are:

  1. Amplify Dispensaries, LLC 1181 W. Main St., Kent (associated with Buckeye Relief)
  2. C21 Ohio, Inc. 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  3. Citizen Real Estate, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  4. CREAM Apothecaries Ohio, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  5. CULTURE RETAIL PARTNERS OF OHIO, INC., 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  6. FN Group Holdings, LLC, 9156 S.R. 14, Streetsboro
  7. FUTURE GEN OHIO, LLC, 2108 S.R. 59, Franklin Township
  8. FUTURE GEN OHIO LLC, 644 S. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  9. Galenas LLC, 166 Currie Hall Parkway, Kent
  10. GF Ohio LLC, 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  11. Hempnotize, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  12. Hempnotize, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  13. Hill Botanicals, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna (associated with ONE)
  14. Jazz Dog LLC 2108 S.R. 59, Kent
  15. Mani Group LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  16. Natures OH LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  17. Natures Provider LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  18. Nectar Markets of Ohio, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  19. Next-Level Operators LLC 331 E. Main St., Kent
  20. OTC Ohio LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  21. QS Ohio, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  22. Route 59 Medicinals LLC 2108 S.R. 59, Kent
  23. Shoob & Waldo, LLC 2108 S.R. 59, Kent
  24. SIMPLE AG OHIO, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  25. Slightly Toasted, LLC 331 E. Main St., Kent
  26. Tree Market, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna
  27. Tru Roots, LLC 554 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna

As you can see, 554 N. Chestnut St. in Ravenna is a pretty popular location. Property owners Fred and Cheryl Hayes stated they have no comment until the lottery results are announced. It appears one lucky winner will hope to purchase the property after the drawing.

A vacant building at 2108 state Route 59 in Franklin Township was listed on four applications, and 331 E. Main St. in Kent was listed on two more.

Efforts to reach J & L White Stone, the property owner of 2108 state Route 59, were unsuccessful.

Cooper Dulick, who identified himself as partial owner of Lightly Toasted Glass & Vapors, said he would welcome adding dispensary operations to the Kent business at 331 E. Main St.

“We think that would be a great business,” he said. “We’ve had a bunch of people come in with their medical cards and ask if we knew where a dispensary was. We’re just a vape store right now. But if we could start actually helping people, that would be awesome.”

Cooper referred further questions to his father, James Dulick, who declined comment until after the Jan. 27 lottery.

Applications were submitted by Next-Level Operators LLC and by Slightly Toasted LLC. The Portage County Auditor lists Slightly Toasted as the owner of 331 E. Main St., where Lightly Toasted is located.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy hopes to increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries evenly throughout the state.

Northeast District 5 currently has two dispensaries, one in Painesville and one in Mentor. None are in Portage County.

When determining licensures, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy considers the state’s population, the number of patients seeking to use medical marijuana, and the geographic distribution of dispensaries. The districts themselves are carved out with an eye to access to major Ohio roadways.

In deciding to increase NED5’s total number of dispensaries from two to five, the Board analyzed the number of patients, intending to equalize access. It found that in NED5, there were 5,636 patients, which translated to 2,818 patients per dispensary. The Board’s stated goal is to have 1,200 registered patients per dispensary.

For this lottery, there were 1,463 applications submitted. Only 73 new licenses will be issued.

The applications aren’t cheap. A $5,000 fee must accompany each one, and all applicants must prove access to at least $250,000 in liquid assets.

It comes down to this: Portage County doesn’t have any dispensaries now. Come Jan. 27, it may get zero, one, two or three. Like any lottery, there’s no way to know.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.

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