The Latest: Utah Medical Pot Dispensaries Likely Open 2020
Utah patients can use medical marijuana legally after a compromise agreement was signed into law, but they won't likely be able to buy it legally inside the state until at least 2020.
Health department spokesman Tom Hudachko said Tuesday the state will first build up a database for patient cards, and then begin granting licenses for dispensaries. He expects the first license for a private dispensary to be awarded by June 2020, though authorities are aiming to do it faster.
But people who have purchased allowed forms of medicinal marijuana, like gummies and oils, now have legal protections, if they have a doctor who recommends their use.
The Legislature passed sweeping changes Monday to a law passed by voters under a compromise deal, but some advocates say the agreement makes it too hard for patients to access the drug.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed into law a compromise agreement that guaranteed legalization of medical marijuana but has sparked concern that it creates too many hurdles for patients trying to access the drug.
Herbert said late Monday the passage of the bill was a historic day in conservative Utah. He said in a statement a new regulatory system that helped win the approval of the influential Mormon church will dispense cannabis in "medical dosage form," preventing diversion into the black market.
He says his administration will implement the law "as quickly as feasible."
Some medical-marijuana advocates, though, worry the system will throw up too many hurdles for suffering patients and have said they plan to file a lawsuit.
The changes passed Monday alter a voter-passed law under a compromise reached before Election Day.