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FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2019, file photo, marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif. With nine research grants announced Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, the U.S. government will spend $3 million to find out if marijuana can relieve pain, but none of the money will be used to study the part of the plant that gets people high. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Utah health officials plan to award pharmacy licenses to 10 companies to dispense medical marijuana at 14 sites across the state, a major development in the program’s approaching launch. The chosen sites announced Friday by the Department of Health are largely in metro Salt Lake City or elsewhere in northern Utah but also include two in southern Utah and one in rural eastern Utah.

According to the Utah Department of Health, the companies were selected from more than 130 applications submitted through a competitive bidding process.

The following businesses will be issued licenses:

  • Beehive’s Own (two licenses), Salt Lake City and location TBD but will be in Box Elder, Morgan, or Rich County
  • Bloom Medicinals, Cedar City
  • Columbia Care, Springville
  • Curaleaf, Lindon
  • Deseret Wellness (two licenses), Park City and Provo
  • Dragonfly Wellness, Salt Lake City
  • Justice Grown Utah (two licenses), Salt Lake City and St. George
  • Pure UT, Vernal
  • True North of Utah (two licenses), Logan and Ogden
  • Wholesome Therapy, West Bountiful

The department said some locations could change because of various processes still underway, including site acquisitions, criminal background checks and reviews of operating plans. The department said eight sites may open as early as March while others would open by July.

“The evaluation committee spent hundreds of hours evaluating applications from companies seeking a limited number of licenses. It was a highly competitive process and some qualified applicants will be left disappointed, but that is the nature of a highly competitive process” said Richard Oborn, Director of the Center for Medical Cannabis at the UDOH in a statement. “The Utah Department of Health is committed to ensuring patients have safe and reliable access to medical cannabis and we are confident the companies selected are best prepared to meet the needs of Utah patients and provide the best value to Utah communities.”

Of the 10 companies to whom the UDOH intends to award medical cannabis pharmacy licenses:

  • Seven are owned entirely or in part by Utah residents: Beehive’s Own, Columbia Care, Deseret Wellness, Dragonfly Wellness, Justice Grown Utah, True North of Utah, and Wholesome Therapy.
  • Three hold cannabis cultivation facility licenses issued by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food: Dragonfly Wellness, True North of Utah, and Wholesome Therapy.

According to the Utah Department of Health, medical cannabis pharmacy licensees will pay an annual fee of $50,000-$69,500 depending upon the type of license they received and the physical location of the pharmacy.

For more information, visit https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/.

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