HEALTH

Ironing out Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program

Feb 22, 2024, 9:00 PM

Marijuana grows at Tryke Companies Utah's medical cannabis cultivation facility in Tooele...

Marijuana grows at Tryke Companies Utah's medical cannabis cultivation facility in Tooele on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Medical marijuana (cannabis) is one of Utah’s most regulated substances, but lawmakers are still trying to iron out the wrinkles in the program.

Senate Bill 0233 aims to make some amendments. Floor sponsor Representative Raymond Ward says the current program is still doing great, but crucial details need to be addressed.

“For example,” Ward says, “One of the regulations in this industry is how they advertise. They can’t go out and advertise to the wide world.” This bill would alter targeted marketing; specifically, pharmacies and processors can send ads to patients who bought medical cannabis products. These groups also get some new competitive protection with their licenses.

Utah only a set number of licenses to prescribe medical marijuana. Ward says this limit creates a risk; namely, national companies could buy licenses up, live out the loss, and then form a monopoly. Bill 0233 counters this move.

“The regulators could take action against them, if they found someone was doing that.”

The bill also introduces minor changes to the formulations that cannabis manufacturers can produce. It prohibits specific oral forms and expressly forbids making it into chocolate.

While forbidding certain kinds of medical marijuana seems like a hard move, Ward wants people to know these changes are minor and are only meant to iron out the program.

“If people are pretty close to the industry, and have a problem about one particular issue, then they need to be in touch and we’ll try to listen to them.”

Related: Gray Matters urges parents to talk to their kids about teen marijuana use

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Ironing out Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program