Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has signed a medical cannabis bill that allows patients to use letters from physicians to purchase their medicine but only through the end of the year, when the state will begin requiring state Department of Health issued identification cards, Fox13 reports. The measure also reduced the number of doctor visits required for a patient to qualify for the program.
Previously, patients were required to already have the ID cards in order to make purchases but the state Health Department had a backlog of applications, according to Fox13.
Richard Oborn, director of the Center for Medical Cannabis, explained in a statement that under the new, temporary, rules patients making purchases using the physician recommendation letters “must purchase all of their medical cannabis from the same pharmacy until they obtain a medical cannabis card.”
Since March 1, the state Department of Health has issued 1,076 medical cannabis ID cards and 203 medical providers – which includes medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, or physician assistants – have signed up to qualify patients for the program, KUTV reports.
Currently, there is only one dispensary operational in the state; another 13 are expected to open by the end of the year. Under the state’s medical cannabis law, eight dispensaries were expected to open by March 1, while the remaining six must wait until July 1. Only Dragonfly Wellness in Salt Lake City was able to open its doors at the beginning of the month.