The Department of Agriculture and Food in Utah has announced that it has selected eight applicants who will receive medical marijuana cultivation licenses as the state marches towards the implementation of a decision that voters approved during the elections last year but legislators later modified the ballot measure in what was called a compromise law.
The selected medical marijuana cultivation license applicants are Dragonfly Greenhouse, Oakbridge Greenhouses, Harvest of Utah, Standard Wellness Utah, Tryke Companies Utah, True North of Utah, Wholesome Ag, and Zion Cultivars.
The government’s statement unveiling the eight companies revealed that four of those eight companies have been operating in the state (conducting other business) while the other four had ties to Utah even if they were from outside the state.
In accordance with federal law, all the cultivation facilities will be located within Utah and all but one of the licensees will locate their grow facility in a rural part of the state.
The Department of Agriculture and Food spent hundreds of hours scrutinizing the 81 applicants who had expressed interest in growing medical marijuana in the state. The decision to select only eight growers, instead of the ten allowed by law, was made in order to avert a situation in which the supply of medical marijuana products would exceed the demand for those products. The eight growers were sufficient to create healthy competition and variety in the product offerings.
The chosen growers now have to undergo background checks before they are awarded the licenses.
Among other requirements, the application process required interested companies to have at least $250,000 to cover any issues that could arise while the company was growing medical marijuana in the state.
The licensed companies will be tasked with meeting the medical marijuana demand of approximately 42,000 patients that may enroll on the medical marijuana program during its first four years of existence. This number was arrived at after the University of Utah conducted a study to estimate the likely beneficiaries of the program.
Under Utah law, the cultivators who choose to grow marijuana indoors will be restricted to a maximum of 100,000 square feet of grow space while those who opt to grow the crop outdoors will be allowed to use a maximum of four acres. Depending on the spacing used, an acre can accommodate anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 cannabis plants.
The law passed by legislators just days after the provisions of the ballot measure approved by voters took effect in December 2018 removed the permission that had been given to certain categories of patients to grow a maximum of six plants.
Under Prop 2, people living beyond a defined minimum distance from a medical marijuana dispensary would be permitted to grow their own medical marijuana. This provision was vehemently opposed by different groups, such as law enforcement, and it was removed by a law passed during a special session of the legislature.
Now that cultivators have been selected, industry analysts believe that the entire industry, including players like Sproutly Canada Inc. (CSE: SPR) (OTCQB: SRUTF) (FRA: 38G) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING), will be pleased that qualified patients could soon be able to treat their ailments using medical marijuana.
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