Utah Lawmakers Amend Medical Cannabis Laws To Grant Access To More Patients

More patients in Utah will have access to the state’s new medical marijuana program thanks to new changes to the law finalized on Wednesday.

The state’s Department of Health announced that under legislation by the Utah legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, “qualifying patients who do not have a medical cannabis card but have a ‘recommendation letter’ from their medical provider may purchase medical cannabis until December 31, 2020.”


Utah Takes First Steps Into Medical Cannabis Marketplace: 'They Saw The Will Of Their Citizens'

March 1, 2020, marked the launch of Utah's medical cannabis program and its marketplace.

Spending in the new market could reach $84 million by 2024, according to data from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research. 

The state health department began accepting applications March 1, and the state's first dispensary — referred to as a pharmacy in Utah — opened the following day. 


New bill would change Utah’s medical marijuana program again

A new bill again tweaking Utah’s medical marijuana program received a favorable recommendation from a Senate committee Monday, moving it to final passage in the full Senate.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, called the bill “critical” in helping the program, which launched at the beginning of this month, run smoothly.


Utah cannabis patients may be able to use physician letters at pot pharmacies

Utah patients could use their cannabis recommendation letters to buy from marijuana pharmacies through the year’s end, under an anticipated legislative proposal meant to alleviate problems that have surfaced in the state’s new pot program.

While the state celebrated the grand opening of its first cannabis pharmacy in Salt Lake City earlier this week, the new business has had one major challenge — a dearth of customers. Connor Boyack, a cannabis advocate, said that’s due in part to glitches with the online portal that’s supposed to help patients sign up for medical marijuana cards.


Utah opens first medical marijuana dispensary

The first medical marijuana dispensary in Utah opened on Monday as part of a recently implemented law allowing those with select health conditions to use the drug. 

The process involves first receiving a doctor’s recommendation from one of 60 approved health care providers and applying online in a patient portal to get a medical marijuana card, Rich Oborn, the director of Utah’s Center for Medical Cannabis, told the Associated Press

The first legal dispensary, Dragonfly Wellness, opened in Salt Lake City. A second dispensary is expected to open in March, with an additional seven opening by June and the last five in July, which will be called pharmacies. 


Patients Can Officially Apply For Utah Medical Marijuana Cards

Patients can officially apply for medical marijuana cards in the state of Utah.

The Utah Department of Health’s medical cannabis website went online Sunday, as required by the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

“It’s been in the law the program has to get up and running by today, and so the (Utah) Department of Health, the (Utah) Department of Agriculture — everyone has been working up until today,” said Connor Boyak, president of the Libertas Institute.

Boyak said patients are required to meet with a qualified medical provider, who is registered with the UDOH, before receiving a card.


The Complex Issue of Cannabis Business On Tribal Land

Throughout history, cannabis was regulated by federal law on reservations, so it was generally illegal. But after the 2013 Cole Memo, the topic of cannabis on tribal land and how it ties into the tribe’s government autonomy became increasingly prevalent.


Utah Medical Marijuana Program On Track, Starting Small

Utah’s new medical marijuana program will launch on time in the coming weeks, though health officials said Wednesday it will start small.

One or two dispensaries are expected to open the first week of March, when people can begin getting patient cards that will allow them to legally buy the drug in the state.

To get the cards, they will need a recommendation from a doctor, which may be a challenge because the number of medical providers interested in recommending the drug has been “very limited,” said Marc Babitz, deputy director with the Utah Department of Health.

Some medical providers may be hesitant because it remains illegal on a federal level, he said. But Utah is the 33rd state to legalize medical cannabis, and no doctors have been prosecuted.


Limited medical marijuana supply expected to be ready by Utah’s program deadline

Though not all products are expected to be in patients’ hands, Utah’s medical cannabis program will roll out by the state’s March deadline, officials say.

“So it’s a rush and a spring, but we’ve known that since day one. We just haven’t had a lot of time, so we’re blocking and tackling along the way and making sure we have some product available for March 1,” said Andrew Rigby, the state’s cannabis program manager with the Utah Department of Agriculture.


Utah Picks Companies, Sites For Medical Marijuana Pharmacies

Utah health officials plan to award pharmacy licenses to 10 companies to dispense medical marijuana at 14 sites across the state, a major development in the program’s approaching launch.

The chosen sites announced Friday by the Department of Health are largely in metro Salt Lake City or elsewhere in northern Utah but also include two in southern Utah and one in rural eastern Utah.

Along with multiple sites in Salt Lake City, other northern Utah sites include West Bountiful, Ogden, Logan, Park City, Provo, Linden, Springville and a location that would be Box Elder County, Morgan County or Rich County.


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