Cannabis company protests Utah’s move to grant eight, not 10, growing licenses

A Colorado cannabis company has filed a formal protest to the state of Utah awarding eight licenses to grow medical marijuana — and may consider a lawsuit.

North Star Holdings, based in Colorado Springs, filed the protest Monday with the state’s Division of Purchasing and General Services. The company told FOX 13 that it would not rule out a lawsuit.

North Star partnered with Baskets & Bowls, a Sandy, Utah, company that grows flowers for local landscapers and recently decided to branch out into hemp and medical cannabis.

KaeCee Kingsley, an owner of Baskets & Bowls, told FOX 13 that she received a letter from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food, saying the company qualified for one of 10 licenses available under the law.

On Friday, the agriculture department awarded eight licenses, but held off on issuing the last two, “to avoid oversupply in the market with too much cannabis product,” said Andrew Rigby, the department’s hemp and medical cannabis program director.

Kingsley’s company was not one of the eight chosen. “It was just a punch in the gut,” Kingsley told FOX 13. “We made the top 10. I wouldn’t have this [letter] if I was 12 or 13.”

Utah voters in November approved Proposition 2, to give patients legal access to medical marijuana. The Utah Legislature revamped the ballot measure in a special session in December.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.