Nearly a quarter of all medical marijuana business applications processed in Colorado since September have been denied by the state, a higher rate than the average over the past few years.
Since September, state regulators in Colorado have denied 51 (or 24%) of the 217 applications they processed, according to The Denver Post. That compares to an average denial rate of about 16% since 2010.
A spokesperson for the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division told the Post that it takes longer to deny a license than to accept one, leading to an increase in denials as the agency finishes up its application backlog, which dates back to 2010.
Last week, the MED said it had reduced the number in its backlog from 900 a year ago to just 96 this month. It hopes to process all remaining applications by the end of the year.
The increase in denials eases fears the the MED is rushing through the process and rubber-stamping applications after dragging its feet for years.
Still, the MED faces scrutiny over the issue, as the backlog has created numerous complications for businesses waiting on a decision.
Of the 96 businesses currently operating without finalized licenses, 12 were targeted in last month’s federal raids. It’s unclear why the businesses were raided. But if it had something to do with the fact that they didn’t have state-issued licenses, then the MED could bear the brunt of the blame.