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2019-07-19 19:24:50

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah has chosen eight companies to grow cannabis for its medical marijuana program set to open next year.

The state’s Department of Agriculture announced the picks Friday morning. The winners include medical marijuana cultivators with businesses in other states and a smaller greenhouse in Utah.

Growers aren’t expected to start planting immediately. Licensees will still need to pass background checks and finalize their contracts with the state.

A total of 81 applicants were vying for the competitive spots.

The new law allows Utah to award ten licenses at the start of the program but state officials say they chose to only hand out eight to avoid an oversupply of cannabis.

Utah joined 33 states to legalize medical marijuana after voters approved a new law last year.

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