Proposed law seeks to allow any doctor to recommend medical marijuana

Dec 14, 2020, 11:37 AM
Photo credit Craig F. Scott / Shutterstock

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah legislators are introducing a new bill to allow any doctor to recommend medical marijuana to patients, seeking to end what many advocates consider the biggest hurdles with the current program. If passed, the legislation would allow any doctor to prescribe the medication to up to 15 patients. 

Under the current law, physicians can write recommendation letters for the use of medical marijuana without registering as a qualified medical provider. However, this provision will be discontinued at the end of 2020 — requiring doctors to register through paying a fee and undergoing an online training program by 2021. 

“There are many physicians who support their patients’ use of medical cannabis, but do not want to jump through the hurdles of becoming a kind of qualified doctor under the law, which requires paying a fee and doing a few hours of education and using a new computer system just for these users,” said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute, to the Deseret News. 

If doctors forgo these requirements, patients would need to find another physician who is already a qualified provider. 

Medical marijuana requirements

Under the existing new law, patients could go to their general physician — regardless if they’re a qualified provider or not — to get a recommendation letter. After that, physicians can just bill the patient’s insurance provider, according to Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City. 

“The concept there is twofold. One on the patient’s side: It would allow the patient to stay closer to home, maybe with their own physician,” Vickers said. “And the physician, if they don’t feel they have the expertise to do the dosing guidelines, they can work with the pharmacist and the cannabis pharmacy.”

More than 550 providers are already qualified under the program — but not all of those physicians regularly recommend marijuana, Vickers said. This causes some disparities, according to the senator, as some patients have difficulty finding a physician to recommend the drug while other doctors are charging high prices. 

“So it’s always a balancing act,” Vickers said. “We want to have access to patients, we want to try as much as possible allow them to go through the normal doctor-patient relationship to get medication.”

Today’s Top Stories

All News

After nine months of rehab in Kanab, Utah, a formerly injured Golden Eagle has been released back i...
Curt Gresseth

Golden eagle saved from death and rehabilitated in Utah flies home

An injured golden eagle spent months rehabilitating in Kanab, Utah after an injury. It was released home in November.
8 hours ago
The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sendin...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava is spilling toward a key Hawaiian highway, but the governor says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
8 hours ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
8 hours ago
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday two new cases of avian influenza....
Mark Jones

Two new cases of avian influenza announced Wednesday

Two new cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The new cases are in Iron and Utah counties.
1 day ago
A suspect is in custody Wednesday evening after University of Utah Police say two hidden cameras we...
Mark Jones

Hidden cameras found in restrooms in U of U Student Life Center, suspect in custody

University of Utah Police say a suspect has been arrested after two hidden cameras were found inside two different restrooms inside the Student Life Center.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police took a 44-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection to the burglar...
Mark Jones

SLC Police arrest man for burglarizing two law offices

Salt Lake City Police say a 44-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection to burglarizing two downtown law offices last week.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Proposed law seeks to allow any doctor to recommend medical marijuana