How Many People Still Don’t Know About Medical Cannabis in Utah?

The number of active medical cannabis patients in Utah now exceeds 70,000. There are more than a dozen cannabis dispensaries in the state, two of which are operated by Beehive Farmacy. And don’t forget the growers and processors. Yet despite a market that continues to expand, a lot of people still have no clue that medical cannabis is legal here.

That is hard to imagine given how frequently cannabis shows up in the news. But a piece published by Deseret News this past April gives us a hint as to why so many people are still in the dark. One of the experts interviewed for the story hit the nail on the head when he said that “it’s kind of like this fight club.”

An Open Secret Sort of Thing

Comparing medical cannabis to a fight club is pretty accurate when you stop and think about it. A fight club is an open secret sort of thing. Its existence is not a secret to people who participate – whether as fans or fighters. They are quite open about it within their own circles. But outside those circles, knowledge is limited.

It seems that medical cannabis is similar. Get 10 medical cannabis patients in a room to talk about their experiences and everyone is free and open. Regular patients tend to travel in circles populated by other patients and industry representatives. So within that community, virtually everyone is well-versed in medical cannabis.

Outside of that community, things are entirely different. People who do not use medical cannabis might have no reason to learn anything about it. Even more so if they don’t know someone who uses cannabis medicinally. For them, it is out of sight and out of mind.

Education Has Made a Difference

The other side of the coin is that education has made an enormous difference over the years. As medical cannabis dispensaries, growers, and advocates have worked to educate the general public, awareness has grown. A program that was expected to provide cards to fewer than 10,000 patients now has more than 70,000 on its rolls.

State lawmakers have also gone to great lengths to improve the program. It seems like every year there are new rules under consideration. The last couple of legislative sessions have been especially helpful as lawmakers approved the limited medical provider (LMP) program and extended the expiration term for a medical cannabis card to one year.

The Basics of Medical Cannabis in Utah

In closing this post, we thought it might be helpful to remind readers of the basics of medical cannabis in Utah. If you are new to medical cannabis, here is what you need to know:

  1. Medical consumption only. Only medical consumption is allowed in Utah. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state.
  2. State cards are required. In order to consume medical cannabis in Utah, patients must have a valid medical cannabis card issued by the state.
  3. Qualifying conditions apply. Medical cannabis is not appropriate for anything and everything. Patients must have a qualifying condition in order to get a card.
  4. Professional recommendations are required. To get a card, patients must have a recommendation from a medical provider with prescribing authority in Utah.
  5. Only pharmacies can sell it. In Utah, only licensed medical cannabis pharmacies can sell cannabis products legally. You cannot buy medical cannabis on the street.

That is pretty much it in a nutshell. There is plenty more to learn, so if you don’t know all the details of Utah’s medical cannabis program, you can always ask questions and do your own research.