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Rhode Island State receives no bids to run lottery for new medical marijuana dispensaries

State marijuana regulators are reconsidering how they will now run a lottery to decide who wins licenses to operate six additional medical marijuana dispensaries after no business answered a bid solicitation to develop the process. 

"Unfortunately, the state did not receive any responses," Brian Hodge, a spokesman for the Department of Business Regulation, said Wednesday. "We are currently exploring alternative options and still expect to conduct the lottery by later this spring." 

In February the state sought a company to “design and develop the methodology for the random selection process,” that would be held, in public, around May 14. 

The bid proposal said the company would be "primarily responsible for securing all equipment, technology, or other necessary mediums to run the process.” 

It wasn’t immediately clear what alternative options regulators were now discussing. 

Rhode Island currently has three medical marijuana dispensaries.  

Former Gov. Gina Raimondo pitched expanding the number to nine with six new regional dispensaries as a way to improve access to medical marijuana for patients around the state and to encourage more price competition.  

In December, 28 marijuana companies, many with marijuana-growing affiliations in other states — submitted applications in the hopes of qualifying for the lottery and then winning a license. 

Dispensaries would also likely get first dibs on selling recreational marijuana if lawmakers approve adult use this session. 

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