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Utah patients may now get medical cannabis with recommendation letters

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 25, 2020 — The Utah Department of Health has announced changes to the Utah Medical Cannabis Program which will allow more patients access to medical cannabis.

Under House Bill 425, passed during the 2020 Utah Legislative Session, qualifying patients who do not have a medical cannabis card but have a “recommendation letter” from their medical provider may purchase medical cannabis until Dec. 31, said a press release from UDOH.

Prior to this legislation, patients could only purchase medical cannabis with a medical cannabis card.

To qualify to purchase medical cannabis with a recommendation letter, individuals 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. Approved licensed medical professions in Utah include a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant.
  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.

“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 expires Dec. 31, 2020.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, recommendation letters will no longer be accepted at medical cannabis pharmacies. At that time, patients will need a medical cannabis card from the UDOH in order to buy medical cannabis. Information about how to get a medical cannabis card can be found at https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov.

“We encourage medical cannabis patients to contact their pharmacy to determine the best course of action for accessing their pharmacy with a recommendation letter,” said Oborn.

Since March 1, 2020, the UDOH has issued 1,076 medical cannabis cards to qualifying patients and 203 qualified medical providers have registered with the program. Currently, there is only 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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