Utah’s New Medical Cannabis Program is Booming
Despite being only six months since medical cannabis was approved for purchase in Utah, the program has already exceeded enrollment expectations.
On the flip side, the exceptional demand has also resulted in product shortages. According to the manager of the Utah Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program, Cody James, the program has been going better than expected.
Nevertheless, he claims that there are, in fact, hurdles in the production and that suppliers are struggling to keep up with increasing demand. “No one had the slightest idea that such a large number of people would be enrolling for the program in Utah,” said James.
In November 2018, Utah voters signed a ballot initiative legalizing cannabis treatment for certain illnesses. The following month, the laws concerning the use of cannabis and its production and distribution became tighter.
Keep in mind that the state’s Medical Cannabis Act went through a number of alterations in subsequent legislative sessions prior to the launch of the program in March 2020. Currently, the number of active medical cannabis patients who received a medical marijuana card sits at a staggering 10,000; according to Utah officials, this number wasn’t expected to be reached until a full year into the program.
Most patient cards have been issued in Utah County; 3,600 to be exact. 2,400 patients with medical cannabis cards were also reported in Salt Lake County, followed by Weber Country (854), and Davis County (787). Indeed, there is a minimum of one cardholder for every county in Utah!
Unfortunately, many patients are still struggling to find a medical professional for their recommendation. The reason being, professionals have to pay an initial fee of $100 to become an approved provider. Not only that, but they must also partake in a 4-hour-long session with the state’s Department of Health.