By Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Department of Health says a committee has whittled down from 86 to 17 the number of applicants seeking licenses to produce medical marijuana.

Health Secretary Retta Ward will review the finalists and decide how many licenses will be granted. She’s expected to make a decision in the next 30 days.

Officials considered a number of factors in narrowing the list of potential producers, including plans for production, security, sales and distribution, quality assurance and their agricultural experience.

The department did not release the names of the applicants but said it’s working on a rule change that would allow for the names of licensed producers and their employees to be made public.

The department expected to publish the proposed rule and hold hearings on the matter this fall.

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