Utah has selected the first eight companies that will be licensed to grow medical marijuana under the state’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program. A combination of local and out-of-state companies, the eight were chosen from among 81 applicants. The program allows up to 10 licenses.
“I want to personally thank all the businesses and individuals who participated in this process,” said Kerry W. Gibson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “Our committee spent hundreds of hours reviewing 81 applications to make sure they selected the top producers who will deliver a high-quality, safe product for Utahns. Half of the awardees already have existing businesses in Utah and the other half are out of state but have Utah ties. All grows will be located in Utah. Seven of the proposed sites are in rural areas and one is in an urban area.”
The eight companies selected to receive licenses are Dragonfly Greenhouse, Harvest of Utah, Oakbridge Greenhouses, Standard Wellness Utah, True North of Utah, Tryke Companies Utah, Wholesome Ag., and Zion Cultivars.
“The decision to only award eight licenses was made to avoid an oversupply of product, while still maintaining a healthy diversity of cultivators for purposes of competition of product quality and patient pricing,” said Andrew Rigby, the department’s director of medical cannabis and industrial hemp programs.
“While these eight have been selected, the final approval of their licenses are still pending the completion of the background checks and compliance with other aspects of the law and rules,” said Melissa Ure, senior policy analyst at the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Last week, six of the unsuccessful bidders met the deadline to appeal the department’s decision to award only eight licenses. In addition to its demand that all 10 licenses be awarded, the challenge also says that the state had inappropriate interactions with the successful applicants. That claim arises from a provision in the law that prohibited officials from the Department of Agriculture involved in the selection process from discussing submissions with the applicants during the application period that began in May.