The 2023 legislative session brought about some significant changes to Utah’s Medical Cannabis program. Among the changes is the number of patients Qualified Medical Providers (QMPs) can work with at any given time. We’ll get to the hard numbers in a minute. For now, just know that the number has increased significantly.
This is an important change given the constant growth of our Medical Cannabis program. According to the most recent state update, there are now nearly 70,000 valid Medical Cannabis Card holders in the Beehive State. Each one of them needed the assistance of a QMP or Limited Medical Provider (LMP) to get that first card.
As you know, follow-up visits are required at card renewal time. Increasing the number of patients a QMP can work with gives patients greater access when they need it most. That is a good thing.
State lawmakers took the occasion of the 2023 legislative session to recalculate the total number of patients a QMP can work with at any one time. Without getting too technical, QMPs were limited to around 600 patients prior to the change. Exceptions could be granted under certain circumstances.
Under the new rules, a QMP’s patient limit will be calculated as 1.5% of the total number of active Medical Cannabis Card holders. Based on current calculations, QMPs can work with 1003 patients simultaneously. The calculation is updated every quarter, by the way.
Going from 600 to 1,000 is quite the change. Medical providers across the state, including those who staff our clinics, can now see more patients. They can help more new patients get their first Medical Cannabis Cards; they can help existing patients with card renewal.
Given that more patients are being added to the active card holder totals every day, it is a good bet that some of you reading this post are new to the whole Medical Cannabis thing. And maybe you’re not familiar with how it all works. No worries. We have you covered.
In order to legally use Medical Cannabis in Utah, you must have a card issued by the state. Utah issues cards for a number of qualifying conditions including chronic pain, acute pain, cancer, PTSD, and seizure disorders.
The state follows a basic step-by-step process for issuing cards:
Once an application is submitted, it needs to be approved by the state. This generally happens pretty quickly. Approval results in the patient receiving a valid Medical Cannabis Card via email. Patients can keep their cards on their phones or print paper copies.
One last thing to know is that you will need your Medical Marijuana card in your possession to buy medical Cannabis products. The pharmacy will ask to see your card and check it against information in the Electronic Verification System (EVS).
Even though the system might sound complicated, it is pretty simple once you get used to it. And now it is even better thanks to state lawmakers increasing the total number of patients QMPs can work with. A higher number means greater access for both new card applicants and existing patients who need to renew.