Utah Chooses its Legal Medical Marijuana Growers

Utah officials on Friday granted eight medical marijuana cultivation licenses to businesses that are both from Utah and those from outside the state reports the Associated Press.

As noted by the AP, that’s two short of the 10 growers allowed under state law, but regulators are “hoping to ensure a supply-and-demand balance.”

“The decision to only award eight licenses were 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,” Andrew Rigby, director of the state’s medical cannabis and industrial hemp programs, said in a news release.

“Half of (the winners) are owned by out-of-state concerns who have Utah ties,” Jack Wilbur, a public information specialist for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily. The winners included local greenhouse growers and medical marijuana cultivators with businesses in other states, such as Arizona-based multistate operator Harvest Health & Recreation.

State regulators recently dropped a residency requirement, saying they didn’t believe it could be legally upheld.

Wilbur added the state won’t release additional information about the winners until licenses officially are issued later this month or next.

He noted that the state still needs to finish background checks and review grower operation plans.

A total of 81 applicants competed for the potentially lucrative licenses.

The eight cultivators selected for Utah’s MMJ program, which is expected to launch sometime next year, are:

  • Dragonfly Greenhouse
  • Harvest of Utah
  • Oakbridge Greenhouses
  • Standard Wellness Utah
  • True North of Utah
  • Tryke Companies Utah
  • Wholesome Ag
  • Zion Cultivars

Christine Stenquist, director and founder of advocacy group Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, or TRUCE, told the Associated Press she is concerned that eight cannabis growers won’t be able to fulfill the MMJ demand in Utah.

Utah voters legalized medical marijuana last year through the passage of Proposition 2. The initiative legalized the possession and use of marijuana and marijuana products for those who receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state. The measure authorized a licensed system of marijuana dispensaries, which will be allowed to sell up to two ounces of cannabis to a qualified patient.

After January 1, 2021, individuals with medical cards will be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use within their homes if there are no dispensaries within 100 miles. The measure exempts the sale of medical marijuana from the sales tax.

The full text of Proposition 2 can be found by clicking here.

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