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How The Utah Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Announcement Affects Your Access.

Today the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced 14 Utah medical marijuana dispensary licenses. I previously wrote about the gap between medical cannabis recommendations and actually using cannabis in Utah earlier in the week. News outlets in Utah including KSL also wrote articles about the UDOH dispensary announcement, publishing the locations and businesses that received approval. I dug into the articles…

  • Where and when will these dispensaries ACTUALLY be opening?
  • What does this mean for patients in Utah?

Where are the Utah dispensaries going to be?

The UDOH divided the state into four regions to best serve the entire population of Utah. Although all dispensary applicants would have loved a big location in Salt Lake City, only three will be so lucky. Two will service the downtown area and one will service the west side off of the 2100 south freeway.

Bountiful gets one for South Davis County and Ogden gets one as well. But the wild news is that Lindon, Provo, and Springville each get one. Are there that many closet users in Utah County? Maybe so, but the Springville location will have to support much of the mid-state population.

The Vernal location is only about 40 minutes away from at least two recreational Colorado dispensaries so they will need to compete on price and selection more than most. I am not convinced users in Moab will be driving north to Vernal when they can drive to Grand Junction, Colorado for a diverse selection of good products.

Cedar City will only have one as will St George, limiting competition between themselves and northern Utah will be limited to one in Ogden and one in Logan. I predict one in Morgan county to compete with the Ogden location. Here is a map of the proposed locations along with the companies that were awarded licenses.

When will Utah medical cannabis dispensaries open?

Legal Utah medical marijuana can be sold as early as March 1, 2020. Cards will likely not be ready and in the hands of patients until mid-March based on the fact that card applications cannot be input into the system until March 1st and there is literally only 8 weeks until then and it will take a while to set up shop.

“Some of the companies to whom the department intends to award licenses do not yet have ownership of their proposed locations, and in some cases, their proposed locations may change. Their operating plans are pending department approval and their owners must still pass criminal background checks,”

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Eight of the locations will be open in March 2020, according to UDOH. You can bet those will include the Salt Lake City, Park City, and Ogden locations, but don’t count Springville out. Other, likely smaller locations won’t be open until July.

What does this mean for medical cannabis patients in Utah?

Utah Dispensaries can only sell medical cannabis products to registered cardholders. If the card takes up to two weeks to process through the UDOH, AFTER the medical provider registers the patient’s approval, there truly will only be a trickle of qualified patients in these dispensaries during the months of March, April, and May of this year.

The UDOH estimate only 7,790 card applications in this year.

The bottom line for patients is you should have a backup plan for medical cannabis until July or August. Because you can use and keep medical marijuana in Utah without a card until 2021, you can get a legal recommendation now if you qualify and need access to medical cannabis. I know Utah Marijuana Clinic is willing to help you get your official card in March if you have a current recommendation from one of their providers and will not charge you a new visit fee. Contact your provider to see if they will do the same.

By: Tim Pickett, PA-C, Founder, Utahmarijuana.org

20 responses to “Utah Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Update!”

  1. I am in a lot of pain from 13 anchors in 1 shoulder a torn labrum in the other shoulder, countless problems with my spine and I can’t take pills because of kidney failure a few years back. I was on narcotics for 15 years of my life and took myself off of them😬 if I ever take them again it will be no more than a three day period so that is no permanent solution for me. I’ve already talked to my doctor, she did not feel comfortable giving me a recommendation nor did she know who to direct me too. I have not had insurance for a long time and when I’m able to go to the doctor it’s paying cash. I do have proof of these issues I speak of and surgeries but no active doctor for quite some time now. With this whole coronavirus garbage my husband lost his job and we have now been able to qualify for Medicaid😊🎉 yay I can go to the doctor….. nope…. still not 😥 this coronavirus garbage has pushed back any normal check ups let alone new patient visits so far that by the time I get to be seen by a doctor I will no longer even have insurance . I’m in desperate need of a medical card and not sure how to go about it where to go or what to do please help

    • Hey there, Crystal. It definitely sounds like you would benefit greatly from the use of medical marijuana. We would love to help you get some relief. You are welcome to call our office (Utah Marijuana) at 801-851-5554 to schedule an appointment to get you your letter and card. Alternatively, you may schedule online at utmmj.org/1. Hope to hear from you soon!

  2. You can call your doctor and ask him for a medical marijuana referral letter and register at the dispensary in salt lake with it. We will have to have a medical card eventually but not all doctors have enlisted on the website. When you do get a card go to udoh and go to medical marijuana link and fill out the application and then your doctor will have to fill.out the second half on line. Then you should have a medical card but for know you only need a letter.

    • While this is true, here at utahmarijuana.org we have five physicians registered with the DOH that are able to get you your letter AND your card. Should you ever be interested in that, give us a call at 801-851-5554 or schedule at utmmj.org/1. We hope to hear from you!

  3. I have the letter from my doctor for medical marijuana, why is it so hard to fill out form on internet to get the card! FRUSTRATED in Utah county

    • Keep after it , the form that is. I had to go back in and fix errors 3 times one was I had the wrong county second I had a zero as a leading number on my drivers license and can’t remember the last one . Once I had them fixed it only took them a couple of days to ok it! Don’t give up and good luck . I got my card but still am waiting for a ride to a dispensary.

  4. I have my card, but can’t figure out where I can actually get what I need. I’m in the midst of a major UC flair up (thanks Covid-19 stress & sick kids) & I could use the relief I had when I was in CA. I’m in Utah county. Anything open yet?! Help.

    • Hey Mindee, unfortunately there are not any pharmacies operating in Utah County as of yet. There are plans for a few to pop up down there this summer, but we do not have exact dates yet. The three operating pharmacies in Utah at the moment are Dragonfly Wellness in downtown Salt Lake City and Perfect Earth, with locations in North Logan and South Ogden. I hope this information helps!

  5. My daughter is 20 years old and has seizure disorder that started two years ago. She works with a neurologist and has tried various medications with little success. Recently the seizure activity has intensified. We would like to try MMJ. Are there doctors in Utah that not only provide the letter/card, but also can help us understand what strains/products are most likely to help her specific problem?

    • Absolutely there are! We have seven providers that fill all of those requirements that I am happy to schedule her with. However, due to her age, there will be an additional process needed to get her approved for medical cannabis use. I am happy to explain this in further detail if you’d like to give our office a call at 801-851-5554.

  6. With only one operating dispensary, which is eternally out of stock, you may want to look at other pain-relieving alternatives for the time being. I have been forced to use some of the most powerful opioid pain medications for close to 20 years of my life due to numerous injuries leaving me with extreme chronic pain, not to mention an incredibly rare type of migraine headache known as Vestibular Migraine Headache, and the pain shames all of my pain sources combined; sadly cannabis is the only way for me to get any pain relief for them. Opioid pain medication triggers migraine headaches and for myself will often put me into a massive series of repeating migraine headache. I have suffered from this condition for 35 years now. This is whole process in Utah has been one HUGE dropping of the proverbial ball for me, bordering on cruelty. The way in which this entire process has been handled has been beyond disappointing and has taken an absurd amount of time considering what was stated by our Governor, saying something to the effect that if marijuana dispensaries weren’t open for patient use by last July he would simply legalize the medicine across the board when we voted to legalize and it passed; which clearly has not happened. I have been working to get off the opioids despite incredibly horrible withdrawals and severe pain because I have always hated the way pain pills make me feel and I know that I will suffer organ failure at some point if I can’t stop taking them. Cannabis is a miracle medicine for someone like me as it can actually serve as a replacement for opioids and could save me from dying much younger than I should have to. I made a big mistake to trust that this would all be done to the best benefit of patients, as we were told when a number of delays originally occurred, and I have to say that at this rate it feels as though all these issues have been intentional. Regardless, due to poor planning, not to mention the good intentions of the people that actually run our state, the result has been a horrible nightmare of an experience. I got my medical card months ago and it has been next to pointless. This is simply too much to put people through. The access to this medicine could easily be made available to patients as it was in Colorado and other states for years now and was rolled out in a remarkably short amount of time. I was born and have lived in Utah for my entire life and hoped to die here and I honestly regret not moving to California many years ago. Cannabis is the safest and most beneficial medicine available to humankind for many reasons and yet patients like myself are still suffering horribly for no real reason. Please, I am begging you all to do something about this extremely serious issue.

    • Hey Ben! We get it, there are a great deal of pain points in the program that have yet to be ironed out. I am happy to report that there are actually three operating dispensaries in the state, however. We are aware that the flower stock at the Salt Lake dispensary is scarce and hard to come by, but Perfect Earth in Ogden and Logan do not run out. We know this is not an answer people love to hear, but there is legal access to medication in all forms somewhere in the state. We also are supposed to get 11 more medical cannabis dispensaries in the state before year end, which will of course help with supply and demand. As the medical cannabis program in Utah is fairly new (not even four months old,) we can only assume things will get better from here on!

  7. Here is a huge problem….. 90% of patients and non patients in southern utah area have to risk federal charges to get anything resembling cannabis medicine because most people are retired or disabled and can not make the long expensive trek to Salt Lake City. Which I find to be rather discriminatory and I’m sure that could be fought in a court of law. The openings should be more spread out and at least one in southern utah. People have literally paid $300 or more just to qualify and can not use the card unless they go up to salt lake. If a person has paid this money and not been able to use the card, every single card holder renewal time should be extended because most people don’t know there isn’t a pharmacy in Saint George or Cedar until they go to use it and search locations. Unfair, discriminatory practices. It’s all about controlling the spice.

    • Hey Ana! We agree, it is quite unfortunate that there are not medical cannabis dispensaries in Southern Utah. Rest assured some are coming! We are supposed to have a total of fourteen in the state soon, of course only three are operating as of now. We can only hope that as this is a new program, things can only go up from here. Don’t give up hope! We are confident this will start working in favor of the patient very soon.

  8. My doctor is unable to ok my certification on the state’s website. I have shown “waiting on certification” since the beginning of March. And it’s June. He cannot verify ANY of his patients and all the state says is “It appears that your doctor does not want to do this. You need to find another doctor.” He is frustrated because the state’s website is useless. I’m frustrated because I registered my letter at the SLC dispensary and now I am limited to ONLY using that location. Do you know if the State is EVER going to get it together?????

    • Judy, I have to admit — it does sound like the state is right here. If your provider has registered with the state as a qualified medical provider and taken the appropriate courses, he should have no trouble certifying you. It sounds like maybe he does not know how or does not have appropriate access to certify you. He needs to reach out to the state (801-538-6504) to get access and help. If he is not willing to do this for you and his other patients, we’d be happy to take you on as a patient of ours. We have successfully gotten 600+ patients of our practice certified and active with their cards in hand and we would be happy to do the same for you. Should you need a new qualified medical provider, you can always call us at 801-851-5554 to learn more and establish care with us.

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