Utah’s new medical marijuana program will launch on time in the coming weeks, though health officials said Wednesday it will start small.
One or two dispensaries are expected to open the first week of March, when people can begin getting patient cards that will allow them to legally buy the drug in the state.
To get the cards, they will need a recommendation from a doctor, which may be a challenge because the number of medical providers interested in recommending the drug has been “very limited,” said Marc Babitz, deputy director with the Utah Department of Health.
Some medical providers may be hesitant because it remains illegal on a federal level, he said. But Utah is the 33rd state to legalize medical cannabis, and no doctors have been prosecuted.
“I think this is actually much safer than a lot of the medications that we use,” he told a panel of lawmakers.
Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants must undergo training to approve patient cards in March, and they can begin pre-registering with the program next week, said Richard Oborn, director of the health department’s Center for Medical Cannabis. [Read more at US News & World Report]