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6 companies challenge Utah’s medical marijuana growing picks

FILE- In this Jan. 28, 2019, file photo, marijuana buds are shown, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Six companies are challenging Utah’s decision to award a smaller number of medical marijuana grower licenses.

The state’s Division of Purchasing said Monday they received appeals from six applicants who did not receive a license prior to Friday’s deadline.

Some applicants have said Utah is granting licenses to unqualified cultivators and will create a cannabis shortage.

The appeals could further delay the rollout of medical marijuana in Utah because licenses cannot be finalized until protests are resolved, under state law.

Two companies came forward last week with their plans to appeal, arguing that some awardees have no experience with cannabis or farming.

Utah agriculture officials say they awarded eight licenses despite the law allowing up to 10 growers to avoid an oversupply of marijuana. The program is set to open next year.