Patients can now receive medical cannabis with recommendation letter

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FILE – This Monday, May 20, 2019, file photo, shows a marijuana leaf on a plant at a cannabis grow. Louisiana is becoming the first Deep South state to dispense medical marijuana, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access to therapeutic cannabis. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health announced changes to the Utah Medical Cannabis Program Wednesday morning. The new plan will allow more patients access to medical cannabis.

These changes come after House Bill 425 was passed during the recent legislative session. HB 425 will allow qualifying patients who do not have a medical cannabis card but have a “recommendation letter” from their medical provider purchase medical cannabis until December 31, 2020. Prior to this legislation, patients could only purchase medical cannabis with a medical cannabis card.

“A patient who purchases medical cannabis using a recommendation letter must purchase all of their medical cannabis from the same pharmacy until they obtain a medical cannabis card from the Utah Department of Health,” said Richard Oborn, director of the Center for Medical Cannabis.

This provision will expire at the end of this year. Beginning in 2021, recommendation letters will no longer be accepted at medical cannabis pharmacies. The patient will then need a medical cannabis card from the UDOH in order to buy medical cannabis.

To qualify to purchase medical cannabis with a recommendation letter, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Live in Utah.
  2. Present a recommendation letter to the medical cannabis pharmacy from a licensed medical professional that states you have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition.
  3. The medical cannabis pharmacy must receive independent confirmation from the individual’s medical provider that the recommendation letter is valid.
  4. Present a valid form of photo identification to the medical cannabis pharmacy such as a drivers license, a United States passport or passport card, or a United States military identification card.

Since March 1, the UDOH has issued over 1,000 medical cannabis cards to qualifying patients. Over 200 qualified medical providers have registered with the program. Currently, there is one medical cannabis pharmacy open in Utah. An additional 13 medical cannabis pharmacies are expected to open by the end of 2020.

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