Medical Cannabis Cards can be recommended in Utah by two types of medical providers. The first is the Qualified Medical Provider (QMP), the second is the Limited Medical Provider (LMP). The latter group is the topic of this post. How much do you know about them?
Utah’s LMP program was not initially part of the Medical Cannabis package that resulted from passage of Proposition 2 in 2018. In fact, the state didn’t finally approve LMPs until just over a year ago. Adding them to the equation has arguably had a positive impact on Medical Cannabis patients.
Things have been going so well for the Limited Medical Provider program that Utah Physician magazine just ran a detailed piece about it in their October-November 2022 issue. It is a great article that offers some information that was previously hard to come by just by looking at the state’s Medical Cannabis website.
You might already know that QMPs are medical providers who have taken the necessary steps to be certified with the state to recommend Medical Cannabis. They have prescribing authority, they have met the continuing education requirements, and they have registered with the state. The reward for going through that process is the ability to recommend Medical Cannabis to hundreds of patients.
The LMP hasn’t gone through the certification process. Still, they are a licensed medical provider with existing authority to prescribe narcotics. Your family doctor or nurse practitioner is the perfect example.
LMPs with prescribing authority can recommend Medical Cannabis to up to 15 patients at a time. They do not have to undergo continuing education or pay the annual licensing fee.
We think it is important to point out that a Limited Medical Provider is every bit as qualified as QMPs to recommend Medical Cannabis. Even without state certification and continuing education, they are still licensed medical professionals with the same overall training education as the rest of their peers.
Giving them the ability to recommend Medical Cannabis was designed to help patients who may not have easy access to QMPs. Think rural patients who live an hour or more away from one of Utah’s urban centers. Allowing their local doctors to help them out makes life much easier on them.
For us, one of the big take-aways from the Utah Physician article was the knowledge that the process is slightly different for LMPs. When a QMP recommends Medical Cannabis to a patient, they actually interact with the state’s electronic verification system (EVS). That is not the case for LMPs.
An LMP downloads and completes a form on behalf of the patient. The form can then be sent to a local Medical Cannabis pharmacy via electronic means or delivered in person by the patient him or herself. Pharmacy staff enter information from the form into the EVS. A temporary card is issued via email and the patient can immediately make that first purchase.
It is not quite clear why the process was set up differently. If we had to hazard a guess, we would say that the state is trying to make things as easy as possible on LMPs in order to encourage more medical providers to get on board.
At any rate, potential Medical Cannabis patients who don’t have easy access to a QMP can now enlist the help of a willing medical doctor, nurse practitioner, etc. with prescribing authority in Utah. We invite you to learn more about the Utah Limited Medical Provider program whether you are a patient or provider. It is a great program that provides a valuable service.