Patients now have greater access to medical cannabis in Utah thanks to new rules that allow qualified medical providers (QMPs) to recommend cannabis to more than 1,000 patients at a time. Previous to the new rules, 600 was the limit. What a significant difference.
If you are new to medical cannabis in Utah, be aware that the only way cannabis can be legally consumed in the Beehive State is with a valid medical cannabis card. Getting a card requires visiting with a QMP or limited medical provider (LMP) willing to recommend medical cannabis as the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
Increasing the Number of Patients
While state regulators were not too concerned about the number of medical cannabis pharmacies they would allow, there was concern about the number of medical providers recommending medical cannabis cards from day one. Patient advocates worried that there wouldn’t be enough providers willing to get on board.
In the earliest days of the state’s medical cannabis program, the concerns were fully justified. The number of QMPs willing to make medical cannabis recommendations wasn’t high enough to keep up with demand. While things steadily improved over the first couple of years, lawmakers saw plenty of room for improvement earlier this year.
A Percentage of Active Card Holders
Rules passed during the 2023 legislative session eliminated the original hard cap on the number of patients a QMP can recommend medical cannabis too. Rather, the number is now based on a percentage of the total number of card holders in the state. QMPs can recommend cannabis to up to 1.5% of those card holders.
The state recalculates every quarter to account for both new cards and card expirations. As of October 1 of this year, 1.5% of the total card holders works out to 1093. Through the end of the year, this will be the number QMPs have to work with.
Limits Are Different for LMPs
Lawmakers passed a new rule in 2022 to allow any licensed doctor, advanced practice nurse, or orthopedist with prescribing authority in the state to recommend medical cannabis to a limited number of patients without having to be certified as QMPs. This new group of medical providers are known as limited medical providers (LMPs)
LMPs are still limited to no more than 15 simultaneous recommendations. On the one hand, it seems like a terribly low number. On the other hand, giving medical professionals the authority to prescribe medical cannabis as LMPs helps patients who do not have access to a QMP for whatever reason.
What It Means to You
So, what does all this mean to you? It means very little if you don’t use medical cannabis. But if you are a medical cannabis patient, you now have more opportunities in terms of seeking out medical provider capable of making a cannabis recommendation for you.
Always remember that you cannot buy medical cannabis products from Beehive Farmacy, or any other cannabis pharmacy for that matter, without an active card issued by the state. To get that first card, you will need to visit with a QMP or LMP.
Renewal after One Year
The default expiration term for a Utah medical cannabis card is one year. Providers can recommend six- or three-month renewals for patients they believe need more frequent follow-up. Be sure to discuss it with your medical provider during your initial consultation.
Renewing requires a follow-up visit with a QMP or LMP. Telemedicine consultations may be offered. And now that QMPs can recommend cannabis to 1000+ patients, your provider choices are more abundant.