AUGUSTA – A business professor from Fort Kent, a personal-injury lawyer in Portland and a former chairman of the Poland Board of Selectmen are a few of the people hoping to run the state’s first eight medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Department of Health and Human Services this week will start to review the 29 applications submitted by 17 groups vying to operate one or more of the dispensaries.

Many applicants said the process of putting together the paperwork, which was due Friday, has consumed their lives since the beginning of May, when the state posted the applications.

Now, it’s time to wait.

DHHS will announce who will run the dispensaries July 9.

Some applicants are keeping mum about their proposals as they’re being reviewed. Others said they want to get their names before the public.

“You need to be open and honest,” said one of the applicants, Ron Fousek, executive director of Green Relief MD. “The cards are now on the table.”

On Friday, DHHS released a list of applicants, along with the region in which they’d like to run their dispensaries. The state is divided into eight public health districts, with one dispensary allowed in each. Applicants are competing with others who applied to the same districts.

Fousek said most of the people applying had already become familiar with each other, but didn’t know exactly who their competitors were until Friday.

“We all kind of held our cards close to our chests,” he said.

Fousek’s group hopes to have a dispensary in either Eliot or Sanford. Green Relief MD is competing with five other groups that applied to the York district, which is the most competitive, along with Cumberland County and western Maine.

Glenn Peterson, who applied to open a dispensary in Poland, said being selected is less important to him than seeing that the new program meets the state’s needs.

Peterson, who was chairman of the Poland Board of Selectmen about five years ago, described himself as a self-employed investor. He said his group, Maine Medical Marijuana Supply Inc., is made up mostly of his neighbors, including a doctor, a farmer and a biologist.

“If someone can do a better job than us, they should get it,” he said.

Jody Savage feels that should be her group, Green Therapy of Maine, which is also set on opening a dispensary in Poland.

“I think our chances are great. We have a lot of town support,” she said.

In the weeks before the selections are announced, Savage said her group will continue to work with town officials and gather prospective patients. “We have a lot to do,” she said.

Several of the applicants, including Green Therapy of Maine, have set up websites and Facebook pages.

Fousek said his group will send out a press release soon announcing that it’s working with a new local partner and plans to conduct clinical research.

Igor Rakuz, executive director of the Maine Wellness Group, said Friday that he’d be publicizing the cooperation between his group and the pharmaceutical college at the University of New England in Biddeford.

While Fousek and Rakuz believe that keeping a high profile could boost their groups’ chances of being selected, others said they feel the opposite way.

David Marchese, a Portland attorney who applied to the central Maine district, deferred to his application, which is a matter of public record, for the details of his plan. He said he’d rather not talk publicly about the specifics before the state makes its decisions.

A business professor at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Leo Trudel also said he didn’t want to comment before he knows whether he’s been selected. Trudel submitted the only application to run a dispensary in Aroostook County.

If no one is selected for a district, another application period will open again immediately, according to Catherine Cobb, director of DHHS’ Licensing and Regulatory Services Division.

Though some speculated that a few groups would apply for all eight districts, five applications was the greatest number to come in from a single group.

That was Northeast Patients Group, which is an offshoot of Berkeley Patients Group, a dispensary operator in California, according to published reports.

The list of applicants released by DHHS indicates that the Northeast Patients Group is eyeing sites in Portland, Waterville, Thomaston, Hermon and, in the central Maine district, either Auburn or Poland.

Neither the Northeast Patients Group nor the Berkeley Patients Group returned calls last week.

One applicant has already felt the repercussions of having a public profile because of the process.

Lucas Sirois, a Farmington contractor who submitted three applications, said he wasn’t pleased about being linked to his father, who pleaded guilty last week to charges of cultivating and selling marijuana in Franklin County.

“I’m not my dad,” he said Friday. “My dad’s not involved in this business.”

Fousek said he thinks DHHS should consider the connection between Sirois, a York County competitor, and his father. However, he said, “everyone deserves a fair shake.”

Fousek characterized the selection process as a race that everyone’s trying to win. Though there’s no denying applicants are hoping to make money, he said, his group hasn’t lost sight of the greater purpose.

“We’re in it for the patients,” he said.