After signing a landmark convenience store CBD distribution deal last month, US-based company Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. (CSE: HARV, OTCQX: HRVSF) today announced plans to further expand into medical cannabis cultivation. 

The company’s local spin-off Harvest Utah was just given a notice of intent to be awarded a cultivation license from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food. 

When it arrives, that license will see Harvest Health operating across 18 different states and territories. Discussing that company milestone and completing the state application process, Harvest Chief Executive Officer Steve White commented: 

Utah’s rigorous evaluation standards highlight the state’s dedication to their community and we share in their vision to improve patients’ lives through cannabis. We are grateful to be a part of this milestone and be granted the opportunity to build exceptional operations that provide the most trusted and safe products.

During the application process, more than 80 cultivars sought to join the ranks of these first legal grow operations in Utah. 

Out of that pool of 80 applicants, only eight companies have been selected to begin growing under Utah’s new medical cannabis program, and state law currently allows a maximum of 10 growers to operate. 

Department of Agriculture and Food medical cannabis director Andrew Rigby recently stated that the remaining two spots will be held back in the short term to avoid an overabundance of supply as the program first kicks off. 

Medical cannabis in Utah saw a rapid advance towards legalization in the last year, with the state House of Representatives passing a “right to try” law in 2018 that allowed medical cannabis usage for terminally ill patients. 

Nine months later, a more comprehensive medical cannabis law was passed via a ballot initiative. Originally planned to go into effect in 2021, the state legislature then amended the law to go into effect immediately at the end of 2018. 

In other recent company news, Harvest Health opened the Harvest of Williston compassion location earlier this month. That is just one of two licenses the company was awarded by the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Medical Marijuana, with another location planned in the Bismark area.