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An Introduction to Utah's Compassionate Use Board

We are quite enthusiastic about the progress Utah has made in delivering Medical Marijuana to patients in need. There is still much to do. There’s also a lot more to learn. As a potential patient yourself, we want you to have as much information as you can. To that end, this post will discuss the basics of Utah’s Compassionate Use Board (CUB).

You might not realize it, but our Medical Cannabis laws are not as draconian as they might seem. Our state legislators have worked awfully hard to accommodate the needs of patients while addressing concerns posed by the medical community. They are still working to improve things. In fact, new legislation now being considered might make it easier to obtain Medical Marijuana without going through the CUB.

At any rate, the CUB exists to help minors and those whose medical conditions are not on the list of qualified conditions gain access to Medical Cannabis when appropriate. The Board could end up being your best friend should you need to call on them at any point in the future.

Who Is on the Compassionate Use Board?

The first thing to know about the Compassionate Use Board is likely the most important. The Board is not made up of bureaucrats and politicians. Instead, it’s “seven qualified medical providers who have been appointed by the executive director of the Utah Department of Health,” according to the state’s Medical Cannabis website.

This is good news. Board members are all medical professionals. They are the ones we should be asking to make decisions about compassionate use. We hope that all current and future Board members have been educated about cannabis and the human cannabinoid system, the same way QMPs and cannabis pharmacists have been.

What Do They Do?

Next up, the CUB’s responsibilities are narrow and well-defined. Their main function is to review petitions for compassionate Medical Marijuana use. The petitions come from:

  • patients applying for a Medical Cannabis card under the age of 21; and
  • applying for a card despite not suffering from a qualifying condition.

The CUB can approve petitions based on two circumstances:

  • a medical condition that substantially impairs quality of life; and
  • has not adequately responded to traditional treatments in the opinion of a qualified medical professional.

It’s our understanding that the CUB has rejected very few of the petitions they have reviewed so far. Most get approved. When rejections do occur, it is mainly because of a lack of information from the applicant.

How CUBs Work?

One of the more attractive aspects of petitioning the Board is that you do not have to meet with them in person. In fact, neither you nor your QMP have any direct contact with Board members. Rather, you submit your petition along with a QMP Recommendation Letter for the board to review at its next meeting. The letter should include all of the information your doctor deems relevant.

Board meetings are private meetings, meaning no one other than Board members are allowed to be present. All petition information is kept strictly confidential. After reviewing your information among themselves, the Board makes a determination of approval. That’s about it.

Utah’s Compassionate Use Board exists to help people obtain Medical Cannabis under unusual circumstances. We recommend you first try to get a Medical Marijuana Card through your QMP and have them help you decide if Board assistance is needed.

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Published February 1, 2021

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