Medical Marijuana is Legal in Utah Now

Yes, Medical Marijuana is already legal in Utah. It has been for a while and the law has been updated already.

Have a recommendation for Medical Marijuana from a qualified medical provider in Utah? Then you can use cannabis legally. Yes, Prop 2 was passed by the voters in Utah in 2016 and the government passed H.B. 3001 the Utah Medical Cannabis Act shortly thereafter. You need to have one of the qualifying medical conditions and must have the cannabis in an appropriate form and quantity.

In 2016 Utah voters passed Proposition 2 (Prop 2) essentially legalizing Medical Cannabis (marijuana) for use by qualified patients in Utah. This spurred the legislature and other influential groups, led by the Utah Patient Coalition, to negotiate a new law to give patients access to Medical Cannabis. Three years later, The Utah Department of Health is almost ready to open the doors of the first private cannabis pharmacies (dispensaries) and issue Medical Cards! They have been working very hard for you to get the medicine that the voters decided you deserve.

But wait! People still have so many questions and the Utah system is not completely built out yet. Patients are still having trouble finding providers willing to recommend cannabis and there is still very little education out there on how and what to use, what the science is, and where to go to find information. That is why Utah Patient Coalition works closely with the Utah Department of Health to help simplify the basics and answer some of the most common questions people ask.

Right now there are very few qualified medical providers in Utah that are willing to recommend cannabis to their patients. Also, Insurance won’t cover the medical visit or the cannabis product so people will have to pay out of pocket for everything. There are more patients in need than willing providers and patients do deserve providers who are educated and helpful.

How do I qualify for Medical Marijuana in Utah?

There are 15 Qualifying Conditions (26-61a-104) in the current law that will allow you to keep and use cannabis.

  • Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Epilepsy or a similar condition that causes “debilitating seizures”
  • Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
  • Nausea (must be persistent)
  • PTSD “that is being treated or monitored by a licensed mental health provider”
  • Any terminal illness where life expectancy is less than six months
  • Any condition resulting in hospice care
  • Any rare condition that affects fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States as defined by Section 526 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts

How do you get a Medical Marijuana Card in Utah?

If I have one of those conditions, then what?

First, you must find a willing provider in Utah to see. There aren’t many so don’t be afraid to call the Utah patient coalition for assistance or call your doctor and see if they can refer you to a cannabis specialist. To my knowledge, there are very few, but slowly growing number in the Salt Lake Valley. Some already have a reputation as “marijuana mills.” Most are lacking in education and may just be ready to make money on the new and emerging Utah cannabis market.

Because no one in medicine has any formal training in Medical Cannabis, you should try and find a provider that has some type of qualification. Look for a member of national organizations, like the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, or the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association. Many doctors in Utah only treat pain patients, so a call to their clinic to confirm your eligibility is a good idea.

Comment below if you would like to compile a list of Utah cannabis doctors and rank them based on conditions treated and special qualifications!

What do I bring to a Medical Cannabis appointment?

You will need to get and bring a copy of the records from your existing doctor’s office that shows you actually have the qualifying condition. Otherwise, most providers will not be willing to recommend a Medical Cannabis Card. Some offices allow this information to be uploaded before your visit to make sure you qualify.

As a patient, you should be seeing a doctor, PA, or APRN that is knowledgeable and helpful and who cares about you getting the best information for your complaint. Ask around and get a recommendation for a good cannabis provider that knows about dosing and delivery systems for your condition. Sometimes it’s worth driving a little way in order to see someone good.

What do I do after I get a Medical Marijuana recommendation?

Between Medical Cannabis Recommendation and Actually Using Cannabis in Utah is an article that will guide you through the next steps of Utah Medical Cannabis. Once you get a recommendation, then you have a couple of choices in Utah now.

You can choose to transport cannabis from a recreational state like Colorado or Nevada to Utah. This is federally illegal, but growing your own plant (many are 8’ tall) is difficult and could be against the law in your area. The new dispensary in Wendover, Nevada is open now.

You could also wait until March 2020 and get an official Medical Card to shop at one of the local cannabis pharmacies (dispensaries).

I’d love to hear your comments on where you think the dispensaries are needed as well.

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Published December 30, 2019

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