UTAH (ABC4) – According to Pew Research Center, 60% of American adults say that marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use.
Over the course of the pandemic, the weed industry in the U.S. brought in staggering amounts of money, with $13.4 billion earned in 2020 alone.
But not all states in the U.S. are on the same page, with 35 states in which weed is medicinally available, 18 of which it is legal recreationally.
So what are the factors involved in making a “weed state,” what are the effects and where does Salt Lake City fit in?
Well, Denver is known as the “best weed city,” with seven times more dispensaries than the average city.
As for Utah, a state where weed is only legal medicinally, not recreationally, there are 47,249 patients with medical cannabis cards, and the number is only increasing.
From January 2020 to January 2022, the number of new patients per month increased from around 1500 people to around 3500 people.
There are a number of qualifying conditions to be eligible to receive medicinal cannabis, but chronic pain is by far the most common.
Here are February’s sales totals in Utah, categorized:
- Vape cartridges, vape pens ($3,711,056)
- Tinctures ($19,475)
- Buds, finished flower, pre-pack ($3,238,180)
- Gummies, lozenges, oils, sprays, liquid suspensions, capsules, pills ($2,092,649)
- Balms, gels, lotion, patches, salves, topical ($133,669)
- Pens, vaporizers, devices, grinders, batteries, cases ($253,345)
The top five counties for qualified medical providers, in order, are Salt Lake County (416), Utah County (122), Davis County (74), Weber County (60) and Washington County (45).
And access is only becoming more available.
On Jan. 19, 2022, the Utah Department of Health and medical cannabis pharmacies launched a program to increase access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients. The program allows any Utah-licensed physician, advanced practice medical nurse, physician assistant, or podiatrist with a controlled substance license to recommend cannabis to up to 15 of their adult patients who have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition.
This means that there are now more than 21,000 medical providers who are eligible to make these recommendations.
If in the future, marijuana is legalized recreationally in Utah, the income from taxes could bolster the state significantly, as states like Colorado make huge amounts of money from marijuana sales.
Here’s how the money from the marijuana sales tax in Colorado is divided:
- 10% goes to local governments and 90% goes to state government
- Of that money, 15.56% of state revenue goes to the general fund
- 12.59% goes to the state public school fund
- 71.85% goes to the marijuana cash tax fund
In 2021 alone, Colorado made $423,486,053 of marijuana tax revenue.