First medical pot store permits in Oregon granted

First medical pot store permits in Oregon granted
FILE -- In this file photo taken April 4, 2013, marijuana plant starts are seen at a growing facility in Seattle. One of the U.S. Justice Department's top concerns in allowing Washington and Colorado to move forward with plans to legalize and tax marijuana sales is seeing that the states keep criminals out of the industry. But the DOJ itself is refusing to let Washington run national background checks on those applying to run legal pot businesses, The Associated Press has learned, and those who have received the first legal pot licenses have done so without going through a national background check. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- State officials have granted the first licenses to Oregonians who want to open medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Oregon Health Authority reported eight medical marijuana shops had been approved by late Friday. It's the first batch of approvals, with nearly 290 applications submitted since the state began taking online license applications March 3.

Another 22 applications were granted provisional licenses until their security systems are in place, and 20 permit applications were denied for various reasons including incomplete information or locations within 1,000 feet of a school or another dispensary.

The permits come days after Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a law allowing cities and counties to bar the pot stores until May 2015. At least one of the approved shops is currently barred in Hermiston by city ordinance.