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October 2021 Update Clarifies Rule on One-Year Renewal Period

We have come a long way with Medical Cannabis here in Utah. From the original voter proposition to where we are today in October 2021, we have seen impressive strides that have been a result of a lot of hard work and commitment from a lot of people. We are thrilled to be part of it. That said, Utah’s program continues to evolve. For instance, changes in state legislation now allow for a one-year renewal period for Medical Cannabis Cards.

One-year renewals were previously not allowed, but the state decided to issue a clarification in their October (2021) update because things were a little confusing. We are glad they did. The update makes it easier for us to explain it to patients. It also makes the rule easier for patients and QMPs to understand.

Simply put, QMPs are allowed to recommend a one-year renewal as long as certain conditions are met. We’ll get into those conditions in a minute. The confusing part, prior to the October update, was determining the date from which a patient would be eligible for the longer renewal.

How the System Works

We don’t want to confuse the issue here, so let’s go back to the beginning. In order for you to get a Medical Cannabis Card in Utah, you have to follow a simple 3-step process:

  1. Start the application process online
  2. Schedule a visit, then go see a QMP
  3. With the QMPs recommendation, complete the application process and submit the fee.

Then you just wait for the state to review your application and send your Card by email. Your first Card is valid for six months from the date it was issued. You go back to see your QMP to get it renewed. Your first renewal is only valid for six months. Then, it is back to the QMP for another evaluation.

You’ll need a second six-month renewal before you are eligible for a one-year renewal. Why can’t you just get a one-year Medical Cannabis Card on your first renewal? Because the rule stipulates that you have to be stable and effectively treated with Medical Cannabis for at least 365 days before you are eligible for a one-year Card.

Getting the Right Medicine

So all this renewal stuff is about making sure that Medical Cannabis is working for you. It is about ensuring that you are getting the right medication to treat your condition. State lawmakers have decided that there’s no reason to force patients using Medical Cannabis on a long-term basis to be saddled with having to renew every six months. But they also want QMPs to be sure Medical Cannabis is the best way to treat before committing to such a long period of time.

With all that in mind, the QMP can recommend a one-year renewal provided a patient’s condition has been stabilized with Medical Cannabis for at least one year. Also, the QMP has to agree that Medical Cannabis is the most appropriate treatment.

One Year from the Date of Issue

This finally brings us back around to the October 2021 update. The 365-day measurement of patient stability goes back to the date a patient’s first card was issued. It is NOT the date of the patient’s first visit with the QMP or the date the QMP certified the patient’s eligibility.

Practically speaking, this essentially means you have to get two renewals before you will be able to get a one-year card on your third renewal. All your dates for renewal go back to the date your card was issued rather than the date you saw your QMP.

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Published November 12, 2021

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