The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is delaying the announcement of the winners of the state’s medical cannabis cultivation licenses, the Associated Press reports. Officials had originally indicated that their decision would be announced July 15.
In all, the state received 81 applications for the 10 available growing licenses; officials have not said how many applied to process medical cannabis products under the law approved by voters last year. The state accepted applications from both in- and out-of-state farmers and entrepreneurs but officials told the AP that in-state applicants would be awarded extra points during the review process.
Cultivation applicants paid a $2,500 application fee and those awarded a license must pay $100,000 annually to keep it. Under the law, outdoor cultivators will be allowed to grow up to 4 acres, while indoor grows are limited to 100,000 square feet.
State officials expect 100,000 patients to sign up for the program but Melissa Ure, a senior policy analyst with the state Department of Agriculture and Food, said that estimate is more than double what the agency expects. She indicated that if all 10 cultivators were growing at the maximum limits, there would be an oversupply.
Justin Arriola, a board member with Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, said the state’s estimates are low and his group anticipates patient counts of 180,000. He said, at that rate, Utah cultivators would not be able to meet demand.
Richard Oborn, director of the state health department’s Center of Medical Cannabis, projects revenues from the medical cannabis program to reach $5.4 million in 2020 and $16.2 million in 2021.
The state has not announced when they would identify the cultivation license winners.