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State keeping info about medical marijuana applicants secret

ALBANY - The New York State Health Department is refusing to release basic details about applicants for medical marijuana licenses, including where companies are proposing to build manufacturing locations.

In contrast to the process for selecting upstate casino licenses, the state is choosing to not make information available about the companies bidding for the five medical marijuana licenses -- save for the names of the 43 companies. Many of the names don't reveal much about the applicant, such as Mindful Medical New York LLC, or its potential location. No further information will be made available until after the five winners are selected, an agency spokesman said in an email Wednesday.

"Only the names of the applicants are available at this time," Health Department spokesman J.P. O'Hare wrote.

O'Hare didn't give a rationale for withholding other bidder information.

A few applicants, seeking to build public support, pro-actively have announced their bids along with details such as company officers, proposed manufacturing sites and proposed dispensary sites.

When the state ran a lengthy process to award upstate casino licenses, the Cuomo administration made available details about proposed sites and business plans. An administration spokesman noted that the casino law required more disclosure.

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