Marijuana firm challenges Utah’s medical pot growing picks – Standard

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s decision to award a smaller number of medical marijuana grower licenses than the amount allowed by law is being challenged by a rejected applicant claiming the state granted a license to unqualified cultivators and could create a cannabis shortage that forces patients to buy on the black market.

The administrative appeal could further delay the rollout of medical marijuana for the state because licenses cannot be finalized until protests are resolved, under state law.

The state’s Department of Agriculture selected eight companies to grow medical marijuana for its program set to open next year. Although the new law allows Utah to award up to 10 licenses at the start of the program, state officials say they chose to only hand out eight to avoid an oversupply of cannabis.

There were 81 applicants for the licenses.

In an appeals letter dated July 21, Colorado-based marijuana company North Star Holdings LLC claimed some license winners have no experience with cannabis or farming.

North Star Holdings LLC was not awarded a license and is the only company that has submitted an appeal, said Christopher Hughes, director of Utah’s Division of Purchasing, the agency which helps oversee the licensing process. But if more appeals are filed, they could take weeks to address, he added.

“The department has awarded a very valuable cultivation license to an industry beginner that has less experience, knowledge, and ability than the garden-variety home grower in Colorado,” Welby Evangelista, the company’s president, wrote in the appeal letter. “I asked how they’re going to learn cultivation, one of the owners said that ‘everything is on YouTube’ and they will ‘figure it out.’”

Evangelista refused to name the company he was referring to except that it is owned by entrepreneurs in northern Utah.

A second company that sought a license but was denied, Tintic

Read more at: https://www.standard.net/news/business/marijuana-firm-challenges-utah-s-medical-pot-growing-picks/article_e2ff1d04-4894-5dfa-afec-a8a3ecd6a381.html

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