The Utah Department of Health announced the companies that have been awarded medical cannabis pharmacy licenses.
The State Health Department awarded 10 companies 14 licenses, with four of the business having two licenses each. One of those is Deseret Wellness, which has a license for a location in Provo and one in Summit County within the Snyderville Basin Planning District. That facility is set to be located at 4554 Forestdale Dr., off Highway 40 past Home Depot.
The Department of Health says more than 60 businesses submitted applications. The licensees were chosen based on experience in the medical cannabis industry; operating plans that considered the safety of cannabis card holders and community members; and whether the companies had a history of disciplinary action. The licensees will pay a yearly fee ranging from $50,000 to $70,000.
Richard Oborn from the Utah Department of Health says several applicants proposed locations in the Park City area. Oborn says a number of factors made Park City an attractive place for cannabis pharmacy licensees, including Summit County’s high support for the 2018 medical cannabis ballot initiative.
“Park City represents a population that, you know, it's not completely rural," Oborn said. "Obviously, it's a spot where people I think would find it advantageous to set up a cannabis-related business. I think they took a look at the type of people that live in the area.”
Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt says the county found out about the facility when everyone else did.
“We, to date, have not been approached by anyone for this use at the address," Putt said. "Neither the property owner or the potential business owner.”
Although he hasn’t received a land use or business license application from Deseret Wellness, Putt says a cannabis pharmacy is a potential allowable use of the location, given the zoning at Forestdale Drive.
“It just depends on the nature of that floor plan design and whether it meets our service commercial zone requirements related to percentage of retail versus percentage of back of house, non-retail storage area,” Putt said.
Oborn says each applicant was required to identify a specific location in their proposal, meeting certain criteria—the facilities must be a certain distance from schools and residential areas. Now, the Health Department will verify the information in the licensees’ applications. Oborn says the health department has every reason to believe licensees can set up shop at their proposed locations, but nothing is set in stone.
“If it's absolutely necessary, it's possible for them to propose a different location," Oborn said. "If, for some reason, a certain location does not work out, they're able to propose a different location, if they don't get necessary approvals from a municipality.”
KPCW requested contact information for Deseret Wellness, but Oborn says the business declined to provide it at this time.
The Department of Health anticipates eight of the locations may open as soon as March 2020 and six may open as early as July 2020.