The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services on Monday awarded 55 preliminary licenses for dispensaries and more than 300 permits for other types of medical cannabis businesses.
The state was particularly generous to companies looking to establish marijuana cultivation sites, approving 182 applicants who want to grow cannabis. It also granted 117 licenses for production facilities – which will make infused products – and 17 for testing labs. Nevada health officials turned down just one application each for cultivators, producers and labs.
On the other hand, just 55 of the 199 groups that applied for dispensary permits received a preliminary license. The main reason for the low approval rate: Nevada limits the number of dispensaries by county, so it was a given that most applicants would not win a permit.
In total, 519 businesses submitted applications to enter the industry. Only a handful of businesses agreed to let the state publish their names and application scores, so the individuals and companies behind many winning bids remain secret.
Some highlights of the licensing process:
– A company called Silver State Sparks had the highest score (225.19) of all dispensary applicants that agreed to make their information public. Silver State plans to set up a dispensary in Washoe County.
– The state awarded 18 dispensary licenses for unincorporated Clark County, 12 in Las Vegas and four for North Las Vegas.
– Unincorporated Clark County and North Las Vegas will be hubs for cultivation, with the state awarding 55 licenses for MMJ grows in the former and 48 in the latter.
Businesses that won initial state approval must still get the green light from local officials. They now have 18 months to comply with local regulatory requirements and clear other hurdles to secure a final license.