(The Center Square) – An Ohio state agency has voted to increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state in response to a growing number of patients and increased complaints about availability and high prices.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy approved adding 73 more dispensary licenses Monday. The state, which currently has issued 57 licenses, is expected to begin the application process this spring or summer.

The board’s plan is to add dispensary licenses for every district that exceeds 1,200 patients per dispensary to bring that number below 1,200. Any region with fewer than 1,200 patients per dispensary will not be eligible for another license.

Three districts are without a dispensary license, and those three automatically will receive at least one.

State officials had expected between 12,000 and 24,000 people to register as medical marijuana patients in the first two years of the program, The Associated Press reported. Instead, more than 135,000 registered as of January.

According to a state analysis of factors leading to the decision to allow more dispensaries, Ohio’s early estimates of potential patients were based on experiences in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York. The analysis determined those states demonstrated relatively low rates of patient growth

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