SALT LAKE CITY -- The Latest on protests by companies denied medical marijuana grower licenses in Utah (all times local):
Utah has dismissed appeals from six companies that were denied licenses to grow medical marijuana for the state and argued the state chose unqualified companies.
Utah's Division of Purchasing announced its decision to dismiss all of the appeals Wednesday. Director Chris Hughes says rejected applicants can appeal his decision to the state Procurement Policy Board.
The denied companies could consider lawsuits at a later point, as well.
Their protests challenged the state's decision to award fewer licenses than allowed by law.
Utah agriculture officials say they licensed eight medical growers instead of the up to 10 allowed to avoid an oversupply of marijuana. The program is set to open next year.
The companies that appealed were Pure UT, North Star Holdings, Total Health Sciences, Wild West Holding, JLPR and Tintic United Bioscience.
Several county attorneys are pressuring Utah to scrap its plans for a state-run medical marijuana dispensary system, arguing the system would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings both said Tuesday that current plans to use local health departments as pickup points for medical marijuana would make county employees de-facto drug dealers.
Utah's law currently allows for seven private "cannabis pharmacies" with a state-run "central fill pharmacy" distributing the remainder of medical marijuana orders through each of the state's thirteen local health departments.
State officials said they are aware of prosecutors' concerns and will be meeting later this month to discuss alternatives including replacing the state-run pharmacy with an eighth privately-owned pharmacy.