Dozens may apply as Utah opens medical marijuana dispensary licensing round

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Utah officials expect “dozens” of individuals and businesses to apply to serve the state’s relatively small market with a total of 14 medical cannabis dispensaries.

The application process remains open until Dec. 2, with state officials aiming to announce winners in time to launch the first phase of the program on March 1.

Rich Oborn, director of the Utah Department of Health’s Center for Medical Cannabis, said he expects “dozens of interested applicants” to submit proposals to operate the dispensaries, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

Dispensaries are called pharmacies in Utah.

Utah’s medical marijuana law initially called for a state-run system with seven private pharmacies.

The state-operated portion, however, was scrapped because of concerns over Utah government employees handling a federally illegal product.

At the same time, lawmakers increased the number of private dispensaries from seven to 14, in part to address worries about access and demand.

The amended law calls for:

  • Eight licenses to be issued in a first phase.
  • Six licenses to be issued in a second phase.
  • The entire licensing process to be completed by July 1.

Utah has been divided into four geographic regions, with each region having at least one dispensary.

In July, regulators selected eight applicants to grow medical marijuana.

Applicants are being directed to this state procurement link to search and view the application requirements.

For more information about Utah’s application situation, click here.