Pot is hot in Franklin County, judging from the number of applicants seeking to sell medical marijuana.

The county has the most firms seeking to operate a dispensary, according to an updated list of applications released by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

The board received applications to operate dispensaries at 69 sites in Franklin County. Cuyahoga County had the second-most applications with 57.

Of those potential Franklin County sites, only five provisional licenses will be awarded.

None of the prospective locales is in one of the northern suburbs: Gahanna, New Albany, Westerville, Worthington or Dublin.

Among the Columbus sites:

* Four are proposed along East Main Street near James Road.

* Two are along West Broad Street adjacent to the Hollywood Casino Columbus.

* One is in the Crosswoods retail center just north of Worthington.

* One is a block from the North Market, just north of Nationwide Arena.

* One is across state Route 315 from the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

* One is near a tattoo parlor and pawn shop on West Broad Street in the Hilltop neighborhood.

* One is on East Long Street between North Third and Fourth streets downtown.

* One is on South Third Street a couple blocks from the Franklin County Courthouse.

* Two are on East Long Street near Columbus State Community College.

* One is near a restaurant called Mr. Pot in the Kenny Centre Mall in northwest Columbus.

It's unclear whether all of the proposed locations comply with state rules requiring that a dispensary be at least 500 feet away from schools, churches, public libraries, public playgrounds, public parks and community addiction-services providers.

The Southeastern Ohio region, of which Franklin County is a part, will be the site of 17 of Ohio's 60 dispensaries.

In central Ohio, Delaware County had one application, Fairfield County had three, Licking County had five, Madison County had three, Pickaway County had two and Union County had two.

The Board of Pharmacy hasn't said when it will issue provisional dispensary licenses.

Unlike states such as Colorado and California, people will be able to get marijuana at Ohio dispensaries only if they get a "recommendation" from a physician who has a special certificate. Doctors can issue recommendations only for a set list of conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and a number of other ailments.

Ohio law prohibits the sale of marijuana that can be smoked. It must be processed into edibles, oils or tinctures.

Growers, processors and dispensers will have to work against an aggressive timeline to make medical marijuana available to patients. State statute requires dispensaries to be operational by September.

The Department of Commerce has granted 24 provisional licenses to growers, although that process has generated some controversy.

In December, the department received 104 applications for 40 provisional licenses it has yet to issue.

mschladen@dispatch.com

@martyschladen

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