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I have a recommendation, but what about an actual card?

Before March 2020

I went to a qualified medical provider, brought my medical records, got a recommendation for medical marijuana and now I have a recommendation letter, but there is nowhere in Utah to purchase cannabis! What do I do?

Congratulations on navigating the early cannabis system in Utah. Medical marijuana is legal for you right now, but under a transition clause in the law and no dispensaries will be operational until at least March 2020.

That means all “legal” cannabis must be transported across state lines from Nevada or Colorado or could be flown in from Washington, California or another state that has legalized marijuana. This transport is both widespread and is federally illegal under any circumstances, however. The “most” legal way to possess is to grow your own, but plants can get 8’ tall and are difficult and time-consuming to grow. Good medical-grade cannabis is highly technical to produce.

After March 2020

There were approximately 130 dispensary applications submitted prior to the deadline of December 3, 2019,  and any day now there will be 14 dispensary awards announced. Subscribe below to be the first to know where those dispensaries will be opening!

There is limited information out there on what will be required to get into the dispensaries and what types of products offered. Utahmarijuana.org has relationships with the best growers and producers and they have informed us that there may be some dispensaries with a limited supply of certain medical-grade products, especially early in the process.

That means for a few months, you may need to travel to specific dispensaries to buy cannabis. But the Department of Health is working hard with producers to make sure everyone has access to what patients need.

What to bring to the dispensary

Based on what Utah has published and what other states require, you will need to apply for a medical cannabis card through the Utah database once your doctor/provider has entered your approval into the system. It will likely cost around $50 for the card fee with the State.

Remember to bring a government-issued ID and cash to your visit. Dispensaries will not take credit or debit cards because cannabis is still federally outlawed. All products will need to be paid for with cash; every dispensary I have been in out of state has an ATM in the back for you if you forget.

What cannabis products are legal in Utah?

Here are the types of products you can expect to buy in dispensaries in Utah. The law focuses on medical forms of products so remember you will not be able to buy “edibles.” I know there will not be brownies, but the “liquid suspension” could include liquid formulations you can drink.

Raw cannabis flower WILL BE AVAILABLE in dispensaries; I have confirmed that with growers. This is the list of legal product types:

  • A tablet or capsule
  • Concentrated oil like cartridges for vaping
  • A liquid suspension
  • Topical or transdermal lotion or cream
  • Sublingual preparation or tincture
  • A gelatinous cube (gummy)
  • Unprocessed cannabis flower
  • Wax or resin ONLY IF a patient has failed on 2 other forms and this must be listed in your medical record. (I will write another post on this detail)

PATIENTS MAY NOT SMOKE MARIJUANA (NO JOINTS), MAY NOT BUY EDIBLES – CANDIES, COOKIES, BROWNIES ETC. IN THE STATE. THESE ARE NOT PERMITTED UNDER THE LAW.

How much can I have?

If you weren’t interested so far, this might boggle your mind. I will make this brief and write a more detailed post for those interested. But you should know that your recommending provider needs to know enough about your condition and medical cannabis to recommend the type and dose you should be taking. If not, you will need to call or meet with a state registered physician or pharmacist, who has access to your records, to decide on how much you can take and yes, how much you can buy.

You can buy up to a one month supply based on those recommendations. For example, if your provider recommended no more than 40mg of THC per day, then you would qualify to purchase 1,200 mg of THC in one go. Only a few of you will run into a state cap on purchases.

Utah allows you to possess no more than 56 grams by weight (2 oz.) of unprocessed cannabis flower; or a number of cannabis products that contain, in total, no more than 10 grams (10,000mg) of total composite THC. To put this in perspective, I recently saw a lab breakdown of the highest THC content in a strain that I have ever encountered. It came in at 32% THC dry weight. To simplify, 1 gram (1,000 mg) of this dry cannabis flower has 320mg of THC in it. So you could legally possess 31 grams (1.1 oz) of this strain. Although this particular strain would be considered a “unicorn,” you should at least consider this when buying medical cannabis at any dispensary.

Another popular way to use cannabis is by vaporizer cartridge or tincture. With the vaping lung scare of 2019, vaping concentrates has become less popular, but the ease of use, dosing accuracy, immediate effect, and discrete nature without odor make vaping the most prevalent delivery method for cannabis

You can possess no more than a one-month supply of up to 113 grams with no more than 10 grams of total composite THC. Cartridges can be 90% THC so a 1 gram cartridge can have 900 mg of THC. Therefore you could own 11 of them.

So, a patient may not transport more than that or have more than that in their possession. And it must be in medicinal dosage form, which means in one of the forms listed above.

Summary

We know what to expect with card registration, possession, and use of medical cannabis in Utah. We also know how much cannabis you can legally possess and in what form.

Sign up to be notified immediately when I find out where the dispensaries will be located and what specific products or strains will be offered in March!

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