PAYSON, Utah (ABC4) – Utah’s southernmost medical cannabis pharmacy opened to qualifying patients earlier this spring, bringing the total of Utah County’s number of such facilities to three.

Pure Utah in Payson held its grand opening on April 30 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house event on May 4.

According to data provided by the Utah Department of Health, Utah County has the largest population of medicinal cannabis cardholders in the state by a wide margin. In an earlier story, Rich Oborn, the department’s director for the Center of Medical Cannabis, supposed that could be because more marijuana users are willing to acquire the drug by legal means as opposed to folks in other parts of the state.

“It could just be that individuals in Utah County are just choosing more often to get registered with the program, and they want to protect themselves legally. It’s just possible that those in Salt Lake County, that is not as much of a concern for them,” said Oborn.

He continued to add that making medical marijuana easier to obtain would dissuade users from crossing state lines to use pharmacies or resort to buying weed on the streets, both of which are illegal in Utah. Because of this, getting more pharmacies licensed and available to those who qualify for a cannabis card would be a priority for the department.

“There’s specific testing that the products that go through the Utah program have to go through. You also get the advantage of consulting with a licensed pharmacist and a provider who can give you counseling, as you would get at a regular retail pharmacy,” Oborn said to ABC4. “These are experts about the products. They can share information with you about dosing, about how much you should take, and how to properly use a vaping device and things to keep in mind and monitor as you use medical cannabis as your medicine. That is something that you don’t get on the black market.”

Pure Utah principal Jordan Lams was excited about the pharmacy’s opening earlier this month and the support he hopes it will provide to the community.

“Now, we get to start the real work: providing relief for Utahns,” said Lams at the ribbon-cutting, according to a press release. “The humility I feel when I see this come together, knowing the benefit that we are going to provide for people’s lives, cannot be overstated.”