Utah lawmakers passed a bill earlier in 2022 which requires the Legislative Management Committee to form a working group tasked with studying the possibility of consolidating all Medical Cannabis regulation under a single regulating authority. The idea has a lot of merit. We just need to wait to find out what the working group determines.
As things currently stand, there are multiple agencies involved with regulating Medical Cannabis in Utah. The arrangement has both negative and positive aspects. Among the negative are the competing goals of multiple agencies that some say are causing a variety of problems, including inhibiting the supply chain.
A single regulating authority would streamline things. At least that is the theory. And if regulation can be streamlined, supply could be boosted, and access made easier. But there is also a big negative to consider: centralized, top-down control.
One of the proposals being looked at by the working group involves forming a single regulating agency comprised of representatives from government, healthcare, and the cannabis industry. A multi-representational agency would be able to regulate in a more collaborative way compared to a top-down, centralized governing body.
Whenever government operates outside a multi-representational scenario, viewpoints are limited. Ideas, opinions, and suggestions are less likely to make their way to the top because there are fewer of them. You end up with a bureaucratic model that tends to become more bureaucratic over time.
Should state lawmakers eventually decide to consolidate cannabis regulation under a single agency, here’s hoping they do so based on a multi-representational model. We need input from as many different viewpoints as possible. That is the only way to make the state’s Medical Cannabis program the best in the nation.
A number of organizations that help pushed Senate Bill 153 through the 2022 session say that the state should also make some moves to increase competition and give patients more options. Again, both ideas have a lot of merit.
We know from experience that free markets do best when there is healthy competition among multiple players. Competition provides the incentive to do better. On the other hand, when industries consolidate, the incentive to keep customers happy wanes. Quality and customer service suffer as a result.
We do know that the supply chain in Utah is limited. We know that access is a problem for a lot of Medical Cannabis patients. If the state can address supply chain issues by encouraging greater competition, then let’s do it. One of the results would be more options for patients.
For now, we are encouraged by the fact that there is a working group actively seeking at least one way to make the state’s Medical Cannabis program better. There is always room for improvement. In the meantime, we already have a pretty good program here in Utah.
Though our state is on the more conservative side, we have a fairly long qualifying conditions list that covers all the most commonly cited reasons for using Medical Cannabis. It includes things like chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, and seizure disorders.
In addition, it is not really too difficult to get a Medical Cannabis Card in Utah. Patients need only fill out electronic applications and then see a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) or Limited Medical Provider (LMP).
Here at Utah Marijuana, we help patients obtain their Medical Cannabis Cards. We invite you to stop by any of the clinics we operate in the state. If you qualify, we can help you obtain a card that could ultimately change your life.