This site is under maintenance, but will be back up before you can say tetrahydrocannabinol.

Utah in the Weeds Episode #105 – Catching Up with Chris Holifield

Tim caught up with Chris Holifield, host of “I Am Salt Lake” and a good friend. You may remember Chris as the former co-host of Utah in the Weeds. He graciously offered a copy of their recent conversation for use in this special 105th episode.

Podcast Transcript

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everybody out to Utah in the Weeds. This is episode 105, and a little different format today for this episode. This is an episode that I recorded as an interview that Chris Holifield did with me for, I am Salt Lake Podcast, and I hope you enjoy it. Rarely I think, do we get an opportunity as podcast hosts to be interviewed ourselves and do something that explains ourselves a little bit about what’s happening in the current state of things, right? And no better person to do this than Chris Holifield. He’s the host of I am Salt Lake Podcast. Another really great podcast. In fact, he’s won the award for the best podcast in Utah through that I am Salt Lake platform, multiple years, he’s done 500 plus episodes. And if you want to know anything about Utah and what’s happening locally, that’s the podcast to listen to.

Tim Pickett:
He actually has a lot of guests that cross over into the cannabis space as well. And he is a big, big reason why Utah in the Weeds even came about and has been so successful. I learned everything that I know about podcasting from him, and it was fun to talk to him and catch up. I hope you enjoy this episode for that reason. Please download the podcast on any podcast player you have access to subscribe. We really appreciate it. I think this podcast has become something that people will go to, to learn about the cannabis space here in Utah, hear patient stories, hear interesting things about cannabis and the cannabis business and medical cannabis throughout the whole program cycle. So I really appreciate all of our listeners. The weather is great outside in Utah right now, summer solstice is going on and that’s an event up in Eden other than the worldwide summer solstice happening. Of course, enjoy this episode. I’m Tim Pickett and Chris Holifield here on Utah in the Weeds.

Chris Holifield:
Tim Picket, not only were you on episode 420 of-

Tim Pickett:
That started it out.

Chris Holifield:
… I Am Salt Lake. That’s where this all started. But how many episodes of Utah in the Weeds did I do with you, I’m wondering? I should have done some homework.

Tim Pickett:
Oh yeah, I should have looked that up. I mean, I would imagine over 60, 70 episodes we did because I just recorded the intro for episode 102.

Chris Holifield:
Wow.

Tim Pickett:
And I remember when we started, and then we got to 50 and that was a huge deal.

TJ:
Wow.

Tim Pickett:
Because we did the one-year anniversary. So that’s in the 48, 50 range. And then another 25 because it was August when I-

Chris Holifield:
Oh yeah, because it’s been about a year.

Tim Pickett:
… started doing it myself-

Chris Holifield:
So it had to be 75.

TJ:
How did you guys meet? What did you guys meet through?

Chris Holifield:
It was through the podcast.

TJ:
Gotcha.

Tim Pickett:
So through the podcast episode 420.

Chris Holifield:
Episode, I invite you want to go back.

Tim Pickett:
I want go back and listen to the episode two and see if the story has changed a little bit.

Chris Holifield:
So I reached out to Tim, TJ.

TJ:
Were you planning on having him on 420, or is it just more of a-

Chris Holifield:
No, no, no. It was kind of a fluke how it happened. I mean, I reached out to him on Instagram. I found Tim on Instagram and I was like, this looks like a nice, wholesome marijuana doctor from Bountiful. I mean, you’re up in Bountiful.

TJ:
Was marijuana legal?

Chris Holifield:
[inaudible 00:03:42].

TJ:
Was it medically legal here at the time?

Chris Holifield:
It was just starting.

TJ:
Just starting? Cool.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, I don’t even-

Tim Pickett:
This was really at the very beginning. So, I think you reached out to me in December, January of 2019, ’20. And I had just started blogging about the cannabis program in Utah. This was-

TJ:
Was that your background?

Tim Pickett:
No.

TJ:
Gotcha.

Tim Pickett:
In fact, when I got the Instagram, I remember I was standing on the third floor of Pioneer Valley Hospital, now Jordan Valley West Campus, and I was standing there and you reached out to me on the Instagram message and you were like, “Hey, do you want to come on the podcast?” And I was like, “Yes. Yes, please.” Because I was looking for… I mean, anything I could do to expose myself as somebody who was in the space and seeing patients. And so it was what? February, March?

Chris Holifield:
I think it was about February of 2020 is when you came on I am Salt Lake, because in March of 2020 is when I think it started the whole program started, cannabis started.

TJ:
Gotcha.

Chris Holifield:
Well, it didn’t start then.

Tim Pickett:
But basically the doors came off in March when dragon fly opened-

Chris Holifield:
Correct.

Tim Pickett:
… downtown.

Chris Holifield:
And that’s where we did a podcast and I was like, I kind of like this guy. I think I’m going to ask him to do a podcast with me in a cannabis related podcast.

TJ:
So I didn’t realize the doors came off, same time code was happening.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah.

TJ:
So it was like-

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Literally

TJ:
… all at once.

Tim Pickett:
It was in fact exactly all at once because we started seeing patients in January, saw more in February, but the word really hadn’t gotten out a lot until March. And then when March happened, the phone… I mean, the phone was ringing so bad and so good I guess, that we were something like 30 voicemails deep the first day, had 80 or 90 phone calls a day.

Chris Holifield:
This is your clinic.

Tim Pickett:
This is my clinic.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah, that we were talking about.

Tim Pickett:
I was asking my sisters to help me answer the phone.

TJ:
I was going to say, did you just have to get staffed just for phones?

Tim Pickett:
It was pretty insane.

TJ:
Wow.

Tim Pickett:
But then we started recording the podcast together because this was the other thing, it’s the same thing. It comes in waves. Right? So you’ve had Cole [Foamer 00:05:52] on recently and [Bijan Stocky 00:05:56]. And you get probably here too, because you like… I mean, I know you Chris, you like cannabis, but you get into these waves of where you’re interested in talking to these people in the cannabis industry, but not necessarily wanting to do turn, I am Salt Lake into-

Chris Holifield:
Exactly.

Tim Pickett:
… a weed podcast.

Chris Holifield:
And that was why Utah in the Weeds, it made sense to me to start a Utah related weed podcast.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And I being a medical provider here in Utah that was focused on cannabis, I was looking for ways, not only to produce content for people who wanted to learn more about the program and to get to know all these players in the program, the podcast was a perfect avenue for that. Plus, I mean really, I wanted to learn from all these people we talked to. So we’d get people on with Hyper, the payment program at the dispensary. And we would talk to them about like, what are the rules around transactions in the weed industry?

TJ:
[inaudible 00:07:00] crazy.

Tim Pickett:
We talked to Jeremy Sumerix down at Deseret Wellness and he was talking about the tax code and how they can’t deduct their anything except for cost of good sold in the dispensaries because of this 280-E tax code. So we were learning and becoming experts, right? Not only in the Utah program, but weed in general. And that has done nothing but helped me grow this, like my company, help people, educate people more. I mean, the podcast has been awesome.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. Let’s talk about that actually. Utah therapeutic, what it’s turned into. Because I mean, it’s huge now and I mean, you had no-

Tim Pickett:
It does seem like [inaudible 00:07:46].

Chris Holifield:
… idea that it was going to turn into what it’s… I mean, how many clinics do you have now?

Tim Pickett:
We have six locations. We really are by far the bigger, a lot of patients in the Utah program are under our umbrella and we have 60 part-time providers that-

TJ:
Are you just jumping around from each location? What is-

Tim Pickett:
Oh, me personally?

TJ:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Oh no. Well, because the law restricts the number of patients that we can certify, I don’t have the ability to go see new patients in clinic at any time. I’m pretty much full.

TJ:
You’re tapped out.

Tim Pickett:
So I have office hours. I see patients who need a little extra help or who have a little trouble with the program and I just see people for free. So my office hours are free to the patients that are involved in our system-

TJ:
Gotcha.

Tim Pickett:
… that need extra assistance. And then we focus on educating the providers, our staff, and really it’s become Utah in a bigger way. We have almost 3,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel now.

Chris Holifield:
Which is incredible, if you think about it. If you think about, that’s Utah people.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. It really is almost all Utah people who’ve been subscribed and it’s just middle aged dudes and well, Kylee Shumway, she’s a pharmacist that has helped us.

TJ:
Is it all things marijuana? Is it more so educational like, red tape? Or is it-

Tim Pickett:
Everything.

TJ:
Everything. Cool.

Tim Pickett:
Everything cannabis related. We have episodes with JD Larson. He’s the leafy lawyer. And he talks about the legal aspects, like carrying a gun, drug testing. He and I did a presentation for the people who take away your kids in this state.

TJ:
Oh, like DCFS or like that.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, because we want to educate them about drug testing. So I have become, I guess I wanted to become a source of information for people to get good, solid information on cannabis, how it might help their condition, how to use it, how to navigate the system, help the medical community a little bit, understand it, better educate providers. And it seems like we’re doing it. There’s still a long way to go.

Chris Holifield:
Do you feel like it’s bringing you business? Has it brought you clients?

Tim Pickett:
I think in the beginning, it certainly did.

Chris Holifield:
The podcast did.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. The podcast does. I think that the YouTube channel does. It’s interesting because the growth of the program hasn’t been, it’s not like the program has really just increased its growth velocity, right? It’s not growing faster than it used to. There’s about 1,500 net new patients that come in every month. It’s stabilized. So I wanted to bring in new people. Sure. But we have a lot of people that we want to keep in the program too. So I think it’s become a little bit of both, a way to help keep people in the program. And I know that the work that I’m doing is helping other clinics too. Right? Expose cannabis, expose it. And then they’ll go out and find somebody local. Like in St. George, we don’t have an office in St. George. So if you’re really in the south state and you can’t get to us-

Chris Holifield:
Didn’t you open one in Cedar City or something?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. We have an office in Cedar City. That’s a tough-

Chris Holifield:
Tough market.

Tim Pickett:
Iron County is pretty tough.

Chris Holifield:
What’s tough about it?

Tim Pickett:
Frankly, there’s not a ton of people down there.

Chris Holifield:
People that want to use cannabis or just people in general?

Tim Pickett:
I think people in general, but it’s a conservative community too. It’s a little more conservative community. And certainly the college town down there SUU, we thought originally, well, maybe we’ll have some college kids who-

Chris Holifield:
Who just want to use weed. Right?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Right. Or who want access to the program. And in Utah, your college kids are either young, they’re on missions or they come back and they’re conservative. Right? So there’s not a huge… Logan is pretty much the same way. There’s not a lot of college kids using cannabis in Utah.

Chris Holifield:
How far north do you go now? Do you have a clinic or an office in Ogden?

Tim Pickett:
Ogden. Yeah. Right downtown Ogden.

Chris Holifield:
Okay. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.

Tim Pickett:
We love Ogden. Yeah. There’s some festivals and stuff in the summer. We have a booth at the events, our Utah marijuana booth. And you see our billboards, our Utah marijuana billboards all over.

Chris Holifield:
Dude, every time I drive between Utah county to here to Salt Lake, I mean, every turnaround is just there and I’m like, go Tim.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. The difference between us and the other cannabis specialty clinics here is, I don’t know of very many others that are run by providers. We, of course think we’re the best because of that, because we’re really owned and operated by providers. We know how to take care of people. And we want to do more with the patients. We want to prescribe their medication too. It started out as just cannabis, but it is evolving into a bigger project. Right? Utah therapeutic will likely become a company called KindlyMD over the course of the next six months.

Chris Holifield:
Okay. Tell me what’s this about, right? This is the first I’ve heard this. So kindly?

Tim Pickett:
KindlyMD. Yeah.

Chris Holifield:
Okay. Why the name change?

Tim Pickett:
We really haven’t talked about it a lot, but Utah Therapeutic Health Center, it’s a great name and it’s a great company, but we also… I mean, you know me, I’ve got a big appetite for the business side of things and this healthcare, and I think we can do things in other states.

Chris Holifield:
Okay.

Tim Pickett:
And so I’d like to go try it. I want to go try it in Atlanta or somewhere big.

Chris Holifield:
Okay. So you’re thinking-

Tim Pickett:
Where we can take-

Chris Holifield:
That’s why you’re thinking the name changes, instead of Utah Therapeutic.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Instead of Utah specific, move to something that is a little bit more… can be used in another area, focus on using cannabis to get people off of their opioids, specifically, but manage both, be willing to manage both, prescribe their Percocet while they’re tapering off of that, using the cannabis and the education to do both. We think that pain clinics are doing a disservice to their patients in a lot of ways, addicting them to the narcotics and then not offering them a solution to get off of them. And so we’re really hoping to develop that program here in Utah, over the next, I would say six months.

Chris Holifield:
Dude. That is awesome. We’ll have to bring you back through here when you do it.

Tim Pickett:
I’m just laying the hook, Chris, so that I can come back.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah, no, I love… I mean, then you’ll have to change the name of the podcast though.

Tim Pickett:
I don’t know. I’ve thought a lot about it.

Chris Holifield:
Or just in the Weeds, Nevada in the Weeds, California in the Weeds.

Tim Pickett:
I don’t know. I love the… And the podcast is still just so fun. We talked to, you were listening to Vanessa [Cairobi 00:15:21]. The patient stories are probably some of the most interesting, they’re the most interesting interviews to do. And a lot of them… And you know, I mean, when we were talking to people, we talked to normal people who found that cannabis changed their life.

Chris Holifield:
Well, that’s what makes the podcast so incredible in my opinion is these are everyday people that we can all relate with at some level. And we can hear their story. And if we’re not using cannabis yet, we can say, “Hey, it’s helped this person. I have a very similar ailment that this can help with.” One thing I wanted to mention, I thought was pretty cool. So about a, was it a week or two back? I had to go into your office to renew my card.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, nice.

Chris Holifield:
And I was sitting there and Utah in the Weeds was playing. Right? And I didn’t realize it was Utah in the Weeds at first. I was like, this is incredible. I mean, I just thought I was listening to some talk show, like on KSL or something. I was like, wait a minute. That’s Tim. That’s Tim. It was the episode on what 420 means. You had a bunch of different-

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. I went around, I took the Zoom recorder, just like you use it.

Chris Holifield:
And dude, it came out great.

Tim Pickett:
I’m so glad.

Chris Holifield:
It came out great.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. What does 420 mean to you and all the events? Yeah. I like that episode, that was fun. And we play that stuff in the Discover Marijuana YouTube channel. We play it in our Mill Creek office up on the TV. I never thought I would be somebody who developed content or education.

Chris Holifield:
Like a media company. Right?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And I mean, it’s a lot of work. We have a big team of people who help put that thing together.

Chris Holifield:
Doing a podcast is a lot of work.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Chris Holifield:
A lot of work.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And then episode after episode. What are you up to? 500?

Chris Holifield:
This, I think will actually be 550.

Tim Pickett:
550.

Chris Holifield:
If I’m not mistaken.

Tim Pickett:
It’s relentless. Right?

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. Well, this is the 10 year anniversary of the podcast. This year.

Tim Pickett:
Holy cow.

Chris Holifield:
This summer actually, August of 2012 was the first episode was launched of I am Salt Lake. So we’re almost to the 10 year. That’s why-

Tim Pickett:
Congratulations.

Chris Holifield:
… I have to keep going with this thing.

Tim Pickett:
For sure.

Chris Holifield:
Let’s run down the list. I know this is going to be a very elementary question, but I want to run down the list on how a listener, how somebody can get their card, how they can come to you. Because I think a lot of people look at it as a complicated thing or something that’s unattainable, right?

Tim Pickett:
Still, every day.

Chris Holifield:
And it doesn’t… And how do I say this? I mean, of course it’s not like we are giving them out like candy, but-

Tim Pickett:
It’s a highly regulated-

Chris Holifield:
It is.

Tim Pickett:
… industry. It’s a highly regulated thing to do.

Chris Holifield:
But it’s not impossible to give.

Tim Pickett:
But it really is straightforward. Right?

Chris Holifield:
So let’s run down. How can people get their cards?

Tim Pickett:
The easiest way that people get their card or the most straightforward way. And 80% of patients will qualify in Utah under what they call a chronic pain diagnosis. So that’s a definition of pain that is pain lasting longer than two weeks. That’s not well controlled with a standard therapy or intervention and the provider and you as the patient can really decide what that means. Right?

Chris Holifield:
Sure.

Tim Pickett:
Utah has a very, what we would consider a loose or pretty easy burden to meet for the pain. Other than that, there’s nausea, PTSD, and there are 15 qualifying conditions, but by far in a way the most commons pain. So you have something that bothers you. You had a knee replacement and it bothers you. You broke your ankle wrestling when you were in high school and it just, it bothers you. And no matter what you do, it just bothers you. But you don’t like taking the ibuprofen because you have an ulcer or you don’t want to continue on the narco because for obvious reasons, right? So you go, you come to utahmarijuana.org on the website and you literally can either take a prescreen. We have a little form that you can fill out to determine likely whether you’d qualify or not, takes about 42 seconds, 42.0 seconds.

Chris Holifield:
I love it.

Tim Pickett:
Right? And that’s a good way if you want to just do the research on your own, but if you want to talk to somebody, you can call our office. And if you want to schedule an appointment, you can schedule an appointment right there. If you don’t qualify for a card, you don’t get charged. Right? So it’s going to be 20 minutes out of your day, or it’s probably going to take you an hour.

Chris Holifield:
But it’s worth the shot to see if you can get it.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You fill out the intake forms, you meet with a provider. And we really are good at getting people through the process before, so that you’re ready for the appointment. You have all the information you need in your emails. You meet with the provider. This is not something you should be scared of. Although people really are still scared of that.

Chris Holifield:
Scared to meet and chat with you.

Tim Pickett:
I mean, you’re really talking about weed with a doctor, right? That’s still pretty scary to people.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. I mean, just talking about it in general can be scary to some people because you don’t know what could-

Tim Pickett:
You don’t know. Go to Google and read the reviews at Utah Marijuana and you’ll see that people, they’re pleasantly surprised. It’s easier than they think to talk about these things with the providers. Our providers are educated in cannabis. Our staff, they want you to get a card, right? Our staff are not the people who make that decision. They’re the people who support you in making sure you get your state card issued, know the rules at the dispensary. What are the next steps? You want to coupon to help pay for the visit? Essentially, we have agreements with the local pharmacies, like Wholesome, like Beehive and Bijan, like Block and Deseret Wellness and Provo, where first patients are going to get a discount. So come in to us, get through the process, like I say, takes about an hour total. And then the state will issue your card. It’s that simple. And then we’ll reach out to you 30 days before your card expires and explain exactly what you’d have to do to keep your card. Like you, you just recently-

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. You get a text, emails.

Tim Pickett:
You probably got a text messages, you get an email and we remind you. We try not to be overly in your face about it, but just enough.

Chris Holifield:
Well, the pharmacies first start reminding. Hey, your cards about ready to expire here.

Tim Pickett:
Exactly.

Chris Holifield:
You better-

Tim Pickett:
Every time you go in, they’re like, oh, you got 30 days or whatever.

Chris Holifield:
No, I’m working on that. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
And for us, the nice thing about it’s super convenient. If you go to Bountiful and your card’s going to expire, we’re in the same building. If you go to Provo Deseret Wellness-

Chris Holifield:
That’s true.

Tim Pickett:
… we’re in the same building. You can just come, renew.

Chris Holifield:
Run by-

Tim Pickett:
At Bijan at Beehive-

Chris Holifield:
Beehive. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
… you just come across the street. If you live in Salt Lake, we’re on 3900 south. So we’re everywhere that… And in Ogden, same thing with Perfect Earth right there in Ogden. We tried to make it easy. We tried to make it accessible. And then we try to help people really use it medically or use it to get a benefit. Look, I don’t care if on Saturday afternoon you use it and you enjoy it. Right? That’s just part of what we’ve-

Chris Holifield:
It’s part of life, man.

Tim Pickett:
It’s part of life. And that’s part of cannabis. I think to be successful in this, you have to be able to… You understand that people, some people are not going to want to use it, “recreationally” and some people just are. That’s a fine. I don’t know. That’s fine. Why not learn how to use it a little bit better so you can get better experiences and you don’t have the bad experiences?

Chris Holifield:
Do you teach people how to use it?

Tim Pickett:
Oh, yeah.

Chris Holifield:
Because I mean, I was going to say, I’m sure there are people that come in there that are like, I don’t know how to use this, Tim. Especially, with these new devices, these new vaporizers, man. They’re pretty complicated.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. We have a guy Colin, Colin McCann. So he’s our lead educator.

Chris Holifield:
Okay. You have a lead educator. That’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:
Because a lot of the providers don’t know how to use a DaVinci vaporizer or a PAX 3 vaporizer. Right? So we have somebody who goes around, who literally goes around and trains all the providers how to use these devices so that the providers can teach the patients how to use the devices. And then he usually works in Mill Creek and he’ll teach people as they come through. Here’s the different cannabinoids, here’s the different devices. And about a third of our patients have never used cannabis at all, ever.

Chris Holifield:
Incredible.

Tim Pickett:
So they need hand holding right from all the way through. And of course, we get people who smoke an ounce a week, but we can help them too. We can say, “Hey, why don’t you try a device that lowers the temperature and is a little easier on your lungs?” Or, “Why don’t you layer, use an edible and a little inhaled, so you don’t have to burden your lungs so much with all that smoke?” Right? I’m not going to say, don’t smoke, even though it’s illegal.

Chris Holifield:
To actually put a flame for people listening in Utah, it’s against a lot to put a flame to your cannabis.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. So somebody who comes in, who’s just using a bong or joints, we can educate them too and help them find ways to be just a little healthier to consume cannabis, if you’re going to be consuming cannabis for 30 years.

Chris Holifield:
Do you think joints are unhealthy though? I mean, honestly?

Tim Pickett:
I mean, I think personally-

Chris Holifield:
I guess to burn carcinogen, so however you say that word.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. The carcinogen. So there’s no connection between cancer and smoking cannabis at all.

Chris Holifield:
Okay.

Tim Pickett:
So there’s no known risk in smoking weed and getting lung cancer. There’s no evidence. It’s not like tobacco where you’re going to get lung cancer if you smoke cigarettes, but you can get chronic bronchitis from smoking because you get the combusted plant material in your lungs. And although my personal opinion, I mean, look, it is one of my preferred methods of consumption. The joint, there’s just something about it that-

Chris Holifield:
It’s just classic. I mean, you’ve always got green.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You’re always green. It vaporizes some of the flower that’s closer to the butt end of the joint. Right? So you get that whole experience. And there’s this experience that people who know how to use cannabis. Right? There’s the preparation work for consuming cannabis. That’s part of the experience.

Chris Holifield:
Sure.

Tim Pickett:
And that part of using a joint is for me, I mean, that’s really cool. But if you were smoking five joints a day for 20 years, yeah, that’s bad for you, but how many people are doing that?

Chris Holifield:
I know a couple.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Though I think it’s terrible, my opinion, I like it. I think the law was a good idea in the beginning-

Chris Holifield:
Sure.

Tim Pickett:
… to keep people from starting that way, if they’re going to start using cannabis, but we try to help people who are using a lot of flame, even though that’s their preferred method to learn other ways to consume, just mix it up.

Chris Holifield:
Well, plus with the vaporizer, the way that Utah, the medical program is now, it makes it medical, in my opinion. It’s a very clean… Again, going back to the bongs and the joints and all that, that makes it seem very ecology. Very like, let’s just get ripped and stoned.

Tim Pickett:
Very like, we’re all in the basement.

Chris Holifield:
Which is great. Again, that’s great. I have fun too. But if we’re going to really focus on it helping people and medically, I understand. I mean, there’s worse programs out there. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I mean, I know you’ve helped other states

Tim Pickett:
North Carolina. Yeah. North Carolina. And they were really, they’re still, they’re fighting about the flower at all. Right?

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. Some states don’t even have flower.

Tim Pickett:
They don’t even have flower. So all you can use is THC oil and they’re limiting, some states are looking at limiting the THC content of the flower, even if they allow it to 10%. Well, there’s not a lot of flower you can grow that’s 10%.

Chris Holifield:
That’s 10%. Wow.

Tim Pickett:
So Utah created a program that was really medical. There’s good things about the program, like the pain, like we talked about, setting the bar low so that the doctor and the patient can understand and make those decisions together easily. But also, so that the consumption is appears medical and it is as clean and as healthy as it can be. And that, I really respect the program for. I’m happy that I don’t have to walk down the street and there’s a lot of people smoking weed because I still… I grew up here. I like our culture of that. I don’t know. There’s something about it. Well, I’m interested to go to New York and see what it’s like now that you can smoke weed anywhere you can smoke cigarettes.

Chris Holifield:
Well, and last I read too, like in New York it might have actually even been in Salt Lake City. They were talking, I guess a doctor in New York can prescribe it for anything.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Anything. And in California, the same thing. You can prescribe it for anything. And hopefully Utah goes that direction. I’d like to see sleep added to the list.

Chris Holifield:
Which is insane that it’s not on there.

Tim Pickett:
Opioid use disorder is a good one to add to the list. But if I would rather push for that than push for flame.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. I mean, is there anything in jeopardy right now? I know it’s not really capital hill season, but are there any laws on the books right now that we should be concerned about? Is there anything with medical cannabis? I remember when we were even chatting with Utah in the Weeds, they were talking about maybe eliminating PTSD-

Tim Pickett:
PTSD. Yeah.

Chris Holifield:
… and stuff like that. Is there still stuff like that going on?

Tim Pickett:
Doesn’t seem like it. And I think the biggest issue right now is the advertising. So if you want coupons from the dispensaries or the pharmacies as they’re called here in Utah, then you have to opt in to receiving communication about getting a discount.

Chris Holifield:
So, in a text message or something like that?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You have to opt in to that now. You’ll see that coming around. That was the big thing they were working on this year. And PTSD didn’t even really get brought up. I felt it was put out there as a rumor so that the industry had to fight to keep something instead of while they were doing something else over here, like, Hey, look over here while we screw the program in a different way. For me, the biggest issue is patient caps still.

Chris Holifield:
And what is the patient cap now for you?

Tim Pickett:
Patient caps are still at 275 patient recommendations you can put in per provider. And that just really restricts the ability to do continuity of care, to keep patients in the system, to keep patients with the same provider. And it works out fine if you’re a family practice doc and you see a few patients, the patient cap isn’t a really big deal. But for those of us who really want to specialize in this and want to help people specifically to get off their opioids, for example, I shouldn’t necessarily be limited in how many patients I can do that with. So we’re working with some of the senators about trying to design legislation that will help the medical community feel comfortable with that, the legislature feel comfortable with that, the industry. There’s a lot of people who want to have a say. And there’s that limited medical provider program now, so any-

Chris Holifield:
Any doctor can-

Tim Pickett:
Can write up to 15 recommendations. And that program, in my opinion, has been a big failure. It’s four or five months into the program, and they have less than 100 of those cards issued in the state of Utah. It’s more difficult to do that, to get a card through that program than it is to just come see us.

Chris Holifield:
Well, plus I think it’s, in my opinion, go see somebody like yourself, Utah Therapeutic, that EVS system, the backend system for people listening, where they store all your information, where you print your card out at the utah.gov site or whatever.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, the evs.utah.gov.

Chris Holifield:
That thing is complicated. And if you could pay people all day long to get your card, but if you do not know how to get in there and print it off, it is worthless.

Tim Pickett:
It is.

Chris Holifield:
Pay the couple hundred bucks to Utah Therapeutic.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, to just come and then we just walk you through. You don’t leave our office before that is all done. Right? We make sure that’s all done before you even leave. Because we know if you leave, we’ve had patients go home, not get their card, and then literally four or five months later, call us and say, “Hey, where’s my card?”

Chris Holifield:
Thinking you were going to mail it to them.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, thinking that it was all done and they didn’t have to go back in and pay their $15, or not knowing how to pay, or the certification didn’t go through at the state, or they can’t log in. I mean, it seems to me that is one of the bigger costs of the program and that I think will get, it might get marginally better, but it’s not going to be easy. The state has no incentive to make that easy.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. Well, the state’s not… They’re not rolling in it. They’re not getting… I mean, they get $3 of each transaction from the pharmacies. They’re not getting tax dollars from this because it’s not getting taxed.

Tim Pickett:
Nope.

Chris Holifield:
And they’re probably getting the minimal amount of money from you.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. They’re not getting any money from us because we don’t pay sales tax on the transaction for the service we provide, because it’s a service and we don’t have to pay any licensing fees on our end. Yeah, you get the $3. That’s another reason why the Utah program’s really medical. Right? Because they don’t charge that sales tax like Nevada where you’ve got to pay 22%, I think.

Chris Holifield:
22% tax, yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, 22%.

Chris Holifield:
If you were to go over to Wendover or across the border.

Tim Pickett:
Go to Deep Roots and pay 22% plus the gas you got to spend and all the time. I think the costs are still, every time somebody expires, we send them a survey and say, “Hey, why’d you let your cart expire?” And cost is definitely the number one thing. People say they still just can’t afford the program.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, it’s tested. The weed is tested, so you know you’re getting good quality. I mean, I think we talked about that with Bijan when we were in here. I mean, pay a few extra dollars to know you’re getting good quality cannabis. It’s worth it to me.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. He’s a big believer in the medical program too. I remember talking to him a few times about… You’re paying, what do you pay? $50 an eighth here or something. But if it goes recreational here, you’re looking at $80 because they’ll tax it, right? Then the government’s going to say, well, if you want to use it recreationally, we’re going to tax the crap out of it.

Chris Holifield:
People don’t realize that.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. They don’t think about that. They think that maybe it’ll get cheaper. But he doesn’t think so. I don’t know. I like the products we have here. I’ve really enjoyed watching the products evolve. But I still can’t use a ton. I mean, they’ve got these 40 milligram gummies, like the Huga chews, like 40 milligrams. Oh my God. That thing is so [inaudible 00:36:24].

Chris Holifield:
It’ll kick you on your butt or what?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, I can’t handle that. I got to cut those things in fifths.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, what have you seen that people are… I mean, is there any kind of obstacles or things that pharmacies are running into that you’ve noticed or any kind of that other QMPs are running into or are things running smooth? I know when we did Utah in the Weeds, I mean, supply was an issue. I mean, it seems like-

Tim Pickett:
Supply doesn’t seem like to be an issue. Have you noticed that? Because I’m pretty much-

Chris Holifield:
No. I mean, there’s plenty of product.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. There’s plenty of product everywhere. I still think the pharmacies don’t get along, there’s some places like Dragonfly still doesn’t carry Zion product. And I think-

Chris Holifield:
Come on, guys.

Tim Pickett:
… there’s pharmacies that you can’t get certain things. And I think that’s just dumb that it affects our ability as QMPs to send everybody to the place that is local. As a patient, I feel like you want to go to your local pharmacy, the one that’s closest to you, but when they don’t have all the products available, it makes it hard for us to justify sending people to everywhere.

Chris Holifield:
Well, plus I mean, you’re just going to find an alternative.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, I’m not going to drive to Bountiful if I live in Provo, just because I like a certain brand. I mean, that’s me at least.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And then I think you can find alternatives and the pharmacists have been really good at helping people find the products that they need. And I haven’t heard anything about shortages of product. The biggest thing I’ve heard is it’s hard to find the same flower over and over and over. But I found out that typically, they cycle the grow. This is out of my wheelhouse, but typically they cycle the grow so you’ll see the same strain, but eventually they’ll stop making that or they’ll stop growing the strain as much. But I think that’s probably everywhere. I think we’re doing a pretty good job. I think the program is running pretty smoothly, to be honest. I think that it’s got into a little bit of a groove.

Chris Holifield:
50,000 patients is what-

Tim Pickett:
50,000. Yeah, just over 50,000 patients that are active now. So what’s that a third or two thirds or double the size of what they thought it would be by now a couple of years in?

Chris Holifield:
It’s probably just growing continually every day. You’re getting new patients.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You’re getting 3,000 new applicants a month. There’s about 1,500 people that leave the program every month and don’t renew. The retention rate I think is still pretty bad in Utah. I think they’re losing about 25% to 30% of the patients aren’t renewing. And again, cost is probably the biggest issue. It’s part of the reason why we developed… In fact, since we were recording together, we developed a program called uplift.

Chris Holifield:
What is it?

Tim Pickett:
Uplift is a program inside of Utah Therapeutic Health Centers. So what we do is we ask patients for donations. So you can donate a dollar, you can donate $4.20 or any other amount. We have really generous people who will donate $100. Then that donation that you make as a patient is matched by Utah Therapeutic Health Center, Deseret Wellness, Beehive Pharmacy, Wholesome, Perfect Earth, Zion. So we all match all of those donations. And then we use that pool of money to see patients who are Medicaid, low income or terminally ill.

Chris Holifield:
So wait, hold on. So if I come in and say donate $5.

Tim Pickett:
That’s right.

Chris Holifield:
Is that $5 ultimately? I mean, you name it up.

Tim Pickett:
$35.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah. I was going to say you name it up, these places.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. $35, $40.

Chris Holifield:
Boom.

Tim Pickett:
And boom.

Chris Holifield:
Yeah, that’s incredible.

Tim Pickett:
So that $5 become $40. If you donated $64 to the program, you would pay for one other person, at least to enter the program, all costs paid. So we pay all of the cost of the visit. We pay all of the cost of the state fees and that patient, that low income patient gets 25% off at all the partner pharmacies, as long as they’re in the program.

Chris Holifield:
So is there a waiting list of people that you want to-

Tim Pickett:
The program is pretty popular. And so we do have a backlog of patients.

Chris Holifield:
But that’s incredible.

Tim Pickett:
We’ve helped 120 patients get into the program for free this year. We’ve created it so that it’s going to last a little bit longer. We have a limit on what the partners are matching per month because we don’t want to burden all of the pharmacies with, “Hey, everybody needs to put in $4,000 this month.” and then not have money next month. So we’ve tried to work it out to where it’s going to last a long time as we grow the program. But for example, in May, we had $3,000 plus in patient donations last month alone. $3,000.

Chris Holifield:
That’s incredible.

Tim Pickett:
And so now you matched that seven, eight times. We can get a lot of patients through the program for reduced cost. And people who are in the uplift program as patients, a lot of them will donate $100 to the program as part of the… They’re like, “Well, I can’t afford $250.” Or, “I can’t afford $200, but I could pay $100.” And then we use that to facilitate more patients coming through the program. And then with the discounts that the pharmacies, we think this is a pretty unique program. I don’t know of any other programs in any other states that are doing this. It’s certainly unique to Utah and Utah Therapeutic Health Center runs it. We have somebody who, Lissa Reed, who is the person who is managing that program and works full time essentially to do that. And Utah Therapeutic just covers the cost of her as well. So we not only donate to the program, but we donate her time and energy to facilitate the program. It’s an awesome program.

Chris Holifield:
Now, can people Venmo money or can they do it online?

Tim Pickett:
That’s a good question.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, versus do they have to do it in clinic?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. If you went to utahmarijuana.org/uplift, utahmarijuana.org/uplift, you could donate there online. You could call in, we would take a donation over the phone, certainly, but most of the time patients are donating at their appointments. We’re also working with Clifton Uckerman, who is a behavioral health. He’s a behavioral health therapist who’s a professor at the University of Utah too. So he runs an entire program inside of Utah Therapeutic that is strictly therapy, canna therapy. Oh man, Chris. Man, we’ve been busy with these programs. That program sees patients and bills insurance.

Chris Holifield:
So wait, this is another program.

Tim Pickett:
That’s another program inside of Utah Therapeutic that helps… So the PTSD thing, we were finding there wasn’t a lot of therapists who were willing to use and talk about cannabis. But Cliff has been using canna therapy for some years in addictions therapy. And so he brought his whole company inside of Utah Therapeutic to help people in… He’s the canna therapist. And we have four or five therapists now-

Chris Holifield:
That’s great.

Tim Pickett:
… who are full time, just see patients. And you want to do that. That’s billed through insurance. And then we manage your cannabis card for free, as long as you’re in that program. We’re just trying to get people access that need it in any possible way we can. And if you need therapy, great, you come get therapy. If you don’t money and you’re on Medicaid or terminally ill, come on, we’ll bring you on. If you can pay for it and you want a card tomorrow. Great. And you qualify, great. We’ll get you done. We’ll get that done. And then of course, everybody who’s in the program has essentially unlimited access to the education and to us and to me and whatever you need. That is fun.

Chris Holifield:
Incredible. I mean, you are immersed in this all day, every day from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep. Does your family ever get sick of hearing you talk about it?

Tim Pickett:
Oh, yeah.

Chris Holifield:
I mean-

Tim Pickett:
Because everywhere we go, all I talk about is weed.

Chris Holifield:
And people must know you in the community at this point. You’re a bit of a public figure.

Tim Pickett:
Once, once, once in a while, I’ll get noticed somewhere out. Certainly if I go to a pharmacy, I guess a lot of people know me. I mean, we were talking about this before, right? The mustaches. It is a giveaway now.

Chris Holifield:
Well, I mean, this even goes back to how you were saying people, they’re uncomfortable to talk to you about cannabis. Right? They come into… Because they’re so used to having to keep it hush, hush and quiet. I mean, do you get nervous at all that you’re dealing with this product, like cannabis that is such a-

Tim Pickett:
Still federally illegal. Right?

Chris Holifield:
… stigmatized. Well, okay. You just said it’s federally illegal. I mean, you have a family. You have a life. I mean, you’re not worried. I mean, you don’t-

Tim Pickett:
Don’t worry about the Black suburban showing up.

Chris Holifield:
Cops following you around. Are they-

Tim Pickett:
The joke I make is the, every new office we open, we have to have a microwave big enough to microwave the laptops if the Back suburbans show up. I mean, I don’t think of it that way anymore. I think that we started out in a really good way. We’ve been really careful about banking and about how we’ve presented the company. Well, I’ve learned so much by interviewing people, like JD Larson, who was really giving advice about how to navigate this program, that I don’t really worry too much about it, at least here in Utah.

Chris Holifield:
Well, you’re not doing anything illegal.

Tim Pickett:
Because I’m really not… Yeah. We don’t do anything illegal. And to the point of, am I recognized or is that something that I’m getting into? The nice thing about being recognized is that people do feel safe talking to me about cannabis and will get text messages. I’ll get text messages from my old friends from years and years ago. My wife will get messages, people that she knows that are like, “Hey, do you think I could talk to your husband?” Or, “Hey, Tim. I have a friend of mine who I’m going to introduce you to who had this accident. And I was talking to them about you.” In the beginning, people were more nervous talking to me because for whatever reason, but maybe now after you look up YouTube, Discover Marijuana, you watch a couple of videos and you see me talking about cannabis all the time, then you’re more comfortable asking me those questions. And so to that, I’m very happy. If I can be an avenue for people to get exposed to this then that’s awesome.

Chris Holifield:
I know when I had you back on episode 420, we ran down the whole gamut, favorite local eating spots and where you take your family. I mean, any new favorite local eating spots that you’ve been enjoying or no?

Tim Pickett:
Honestly, we opened a new headquarters downtown and I’ve been eating at Red Rock and their fried pickles are good, the beer is good.

Chris Holifield:
Where’s your place downtown?

Tim Pickett:
We just opened a little, a headquarters office on 400 South and 230 West. Mostly just office space, so we could open up a few more clinic rooms and get people out of the cramp spaces that we had. But I’ve been loving that Red Rock. And I’ve been really liking, gosh, there was a place on Main Street I went couple of weeks ago and had the best whistlepig rye whiskey that was good too. And I can’t even remember it.

Chris Holifield:
That sounds good.

Tim Pickett:
Other than that, Chris, I don’t get out much unless I’m with my kids watching soccer or dance.

Chris Holifield:
What would you change about Utah at this point? If you could change something, I mean, would it be something with cannabis or something else? Or if you had that ability, that question I ask always, what would you change?

Tim Pickett:
To me, so I’ve got a daughter that’s growing up in this, what is still a very Mormon culture and I change that.

Chris Holifield:
They change the Mormon culture?

Tim Pickett:
I’d change that. We were hanging out with her friends the other day and her friends wouldn’t go across the street. They were nervous because the person across the street, the first thing they said was, “Well, he is not a member.”

Chris Holifield:
How do they know that person wasn’t a member?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. And I’m like, “Oh my God, we still are in that space where our girls are being raised with that type of mentality. And I don’t want my daughter to have that. So that’s just one thing I’d change. I think that’s, maybe my family and my wife will get on me for saying so, but maybe I’m just old enough that I’m just sick of that.

Chris Holifield:
I know. I think it’s changing though. I think it does.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, it’s certainly better than when we were kids.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, look at the growth here-

Tim Pickett:
Sure.

Chris Holifield:
… over the last couple of years, especially. I mean, even over since COVID. I mean, geez.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, yeah.

Chris Holifield:
I mean, drive on I-15. I mean, there’s always traffic now and I mean, can’t get somewhere in 10 minutes like I used to be able to.

Tim Pickett:
No, absolutely not. The things I wouldn’t change. Like I say, I like the cannabis program and I like the culture that we’re really healthy compared to other states. Frankly, we have extremely low smoking rates here in Utah. That means my kids are less likely to grow up and learn how to smoke. And those are some really good things. My kids are less likely to get in some trouble than in other places, which I like too. I think I’m just in the phase of life where I’ve got these, my personal life revolves around my kids.

Chris Holifield:
Sure.

Tim Pickett:
And their education and what’s happening with them. So other than work, I’m really focused on that.

Chris Holifield:
How can listeners get in touch with, I guess you, or find out more about the program? Just find out more about Utah therapeutic, find out more about cannabis. I mean, as we kind of wind this episode up a little bit, how can we-

Tim Pickett:
Absolutely, utahmarijuana.org, same place. Utah Marijuana. Search Utah Marijuana on Google, we’ll come up first and that’s a good place to start. That’ll link you into the YouTube channel, Discover Marijuana on YouTube. You can certainly subscribe or listen to the podcast, Utah in the Weeds. Usually I send people to the YouTube channel first because that has both the podcast episodes and the videos.

Chris Holifield:
Coming through on the same feed there?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Coming through on the same feed.

Chris Holifield:
That’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:
So then you can branch off if you want to listen to some patient stories on the podcast or listen to the history of the program there, you can listen to our episodes there. There’s tons of that stuff on there.

Chris Holifield:
Go back to the early days of Utah in the Weeds. And you can hear Tim and I going off there. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
And then finally, I think if you want, if you’re interested in your questioning medical cannabis and you really feel like you want 20 minutes of one on one, just call our office through utahmarijuana.org and you can set up an appointment with me, no charge, usually on Tuesday mornings. And that’s what I’m here for.

Chris Holifield:
That’s very kind to you, Tim. Very Kind.

Tim Pickett:
Happy to do it.

Chris Holifield:
Well, hey, you know what? I’ve enjoyed our chat today and getting you in here and sitting down and chatting. It’s been a while since we’ve talked. I was a little selfish and wanted to bring you through here for my own sake, just to see you a little bit too.

Tim Pickett:
Super great to catch up with you, Chris.

Chris Holifield:
And anything else you want to add before we let you go here? I mean, anything you want to… I mean, I know it’s hard to talk about everything in an hour.

Tim Pickett:
Sure. I don’t think so. Really grateful to come back on the podcast and huge fan of, I am Salt Lake, as you get into 10 years here. I don’t think there’s a better podcast in Utah, even compared to Utah in the Weeds. Utah in the Weeds is what it is, is a lot because of you too. I appreciate that.

Chris Holifield:
I appreciate all your support with I am Salt Lake, with utahmarijuana.org support and all the support you’ve just given all the way around. So thank you, Tim.

Tim Pickett:
Happy to do it.

Chris Holifield:
Awesome.

Tim Pickett:
All right, everybody. Stay safe out there.

Chris Holifield:
Stay safe out there, guys.

By David Wells
Content Producer & Analyst at UtahMarijuana.org
Published June 24, 2022
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Add a Little Green to Your Inbox

(801) 851-5554hello@utthc.com
Address:
740 E 3900 S
Suite 108
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
press@utthc.com
Utah Marijuana Logo
chevron-down
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram