The news is out! Yet another state in the US has become cannabis-friendly, and this one is rather unexpected. In Utah, voters said yes to medical marijuana, and on March 1st 2020, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) began accepting patient applications.
This is not to say that the road ahead to medical marijuana will be easy in Utah. Guidelines are strict, cannabis dispensaries are far and few between, and doctors have to get special approval from UDOH to prescribe it. With all that being said, the bright and shining silver lining here is that it is legal there at all; you need only follow these guidelines to get the medicine you need…
Getting a medical cannabis card
This is the first step. In order to get a medical cannabis card, you must meet in person with a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) who is registered with UDOH, and who will determine if medical cannabis is right for you.
Once approved by your QMP, you must apply for a medical cannabis card online through Utah’s Electronic Verification System (EVS). Then your QMP logs onto their side of the EVS and fills out their portion, approving you for a card. This card is good for 90 days, during which time the patient and the QMP must renew it. Subsequent cards must be renewed every six months.
Once your QMP fills out their section on the EVS, you log back on to pay the $15 fee. The application goes to UDOH for review. If approved, the card is emailed to you. You may print the card out or save it on your phone. Now you’re free to purchase your medical cannabis in Utah!
Who may get a medical cannabis card?
There are many medical marijuana health benefits, and countless ailments that can be treated with cannabis. UDOH has designated the following as qualifying medical conditions for receiving a medical cannabis card:
- HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to: pregnancy, cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome, cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
- Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a licensed health therapist (defined here), and that: has been diagnosed by a healthcare provider by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or has been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation from a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN
- A terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
- A condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
- A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions
- Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions
- A condition that the compassionate use board approves (once established) on a case-by-case basis
You must also be 21 years or older to receive your own medical cannabis card. However, there are other factors that may allow for patients under 21 to receive medical marijuana. If you are between 18 and 21, you may face an extra step of having to get permission from the Compassionate Use Board. This is an organization that reviews cases outside the standards set by UDOH such as age and qualifying conditions.
Patients under 18 may also have access to medical marijuana through the use of Provisional Patient Cards, given in conjunction with Guardian Cards. Minors who receive a Provisional Patient Card must meet eligibility requirements through both UDOH and the Compassionate Use Board, as well as having a guardian who will receive a Guardian Card. There is also a Caregiver Card for adults 21 years and older who care for patient cardholders who are unable to purchase medical marijuana on their own.
How can I consume my medicine in Utah?
Utah is also a tad strict on the form your cannabis can appear in. In Utah, there is no whole flower, and there is certainly no smoking it. You also may not eat it in the form of candies, cookies, brownies, or other edible forms other than gelatinous cubes (i.e. gummies). However, with new technologies, there are plenty of other options deemed acceptable by UDOH.
For example, you may consume cannabis material in vapes or dab pens – these are devices that do not use an open flame, but heat the cannabis material into a vapor. The following forms of cannabis material are allowed under the new law:
- Concentrated oil
- Liquid suspension
- Gelatinous cube
- Unprocessed cannabis flower in a blister pack containing no more than one gram of flower pods in each individual blister
- Wax or resin*
*If a patient fails to substantially respond on two other forms listed, a qualified medical provider may recommend wax or resin.
Where to buy medical cannabis in Utah
There are now 14 Utah dispensary locations:
- WholesomeCo Cannabis — West Bountiful
- Beehive’s Own — Salt Lake City
- Dragonfly Wellness — Salt Lake City
- Justice Grown Utah — Salt Lake City
- True North of Utah — Ogden
- True North of Utah — Logan
- Beehive’s Own — One location to be decided in either Box Elder, Morgan, or Rich County
- Deseret Wellness — Park City
- Deseret Wellness — Provo
- Curaleaf — Lindon
- Columbia Care — Springville
- Bloom Medicinals — Cedar City
- Justice Grown Utah — St. George
- Pure UT — Vernal
There is currently one Utah Dispensary that offers home delivery to 99% of the state’s population, WholesomeCo Cannabis. This is beneficial for patients in more remote regions of Utah where pharmacies can be a 2-4 hour drive away.
So, there you have it. Utahns can now get medical marijuana! This is great news for Utah patients who can be treated with medical cannabis, and it’s fantastic news for the country as a whole as we see more states embrace the science and the solution that is cannabis.