Out-of-State Medical Cannabis Purchasing Exemption Expires in Utah

A rule allowing Utah medical cannabis patients to acquire products from out-of-state markets has expired, leaving some patients in limbo without easy access to their medicine.

Full story after the jump.

Utah medical cannabis patients can no longer legally cross state lines to purchase their medical cannabis products, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Since medical cannabis sales launched last year, Utah has experienced difficulty providing its medical cannabis patients with access, especially those living in the more rural parts of the state. Acknowledging the delays, Utah had previously allowed patients to go out-of-state to purchase their medical cannabis products.

Having expected the state’s system to be fully up and running by now, however, the allowances have expired, leaving many patients without, said Utah cannabis activist Desiree Hennessy.

“These patients are without medication. They’re watching the rest of the state move forward and they’re stuck in limbo patiently waiting — or impatiently waiting.” — Hennessy, via the Tribune

Despite numerous fixes over the past year, Utah has struggled to complete its medical cannabis rollout. According to the Tribune, seven of the state’s 14 licensed dispensaries have not opened. The furthest-south dispensary is in Provo, which is still hours away from parts of the state that are closer to Nevada and Colorado — two neighboring states where adult-use cannabis has been legalized. Compounding the issue was a lack of production by Utah producers in 2020, which resulted in high prices and product shortages where cannabis is actually available.

A recent survey found that 60 percent of Utah patients still buy their cannabis from the unregulated market or out-of-state sources, the Tribune reports.

Legislators say they will take on more fixes in the 2021 session, including legislation to force the seven unopened cannabis pharmacies to open or risk losing their licenses.

Unfortunately, such anticipated fixes would do little to help patients like Chelsie Warren, who told the Tribune, “It’s just been so much easier for me to go out of state and purchase so much more for cheaper.”

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