Medical Card or No Medical Card? Buying Medical Marijuana in Utah
The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which was passed in December 2018, marked the expansion of medical marijuana dispensaries that source medical marijuana for patients.
The purchase of medical marijuana was also accompanied by stringent guidelines to prevent drug abuse.
The regulations required a recommendation letter that allowed you to purchase cannabis from a Utah cannabis pharmacy.
This changed in 2021 when medical cards were introduced to allow legal purchases from medical cannabis dispensaries.
Medical cards can only be used to make purchases if certain conditions are met. Furthermore, the cards only allow for the purchase of cannabis for medical purposes.
When the criteria are met, medical cannabis is only permitted for specific conditions that a physician prescribes. As a result, cannabis is not considered an over-the-counter drug.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Dispensary?
A dispensary is a business that sells marijuana products typically for medicinal or recreational use.
However, a medical marijuana dispensary in Utah is a pharmacy that provides patients with safe access to alternative medicine. The pharmacies dispense medical cannabis as allowed per the patient’s recommendation by a doctor.
Yes, medical cannabis products aren’t approved by the FDA nor are the pharmacies registered with the federal government. But they are state regulated in the case of Utah.
Therefore only state-regulated dispensaries can sell medical cannabis.
A medical marijuana dispensary work under various rules including purchasing limits and requirements, identification and verification, and security protocols.
The rules help ensure that only qualified patients get access to medical cannabis and prevent the diversion of products to the black market.
For example, medical-only dispensaries can allow patients with a medical card to purchase up to 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis or its equivalent in other forms, such as edibles and concentrate within a 30-day period. The limit helps prevent patients from stock-pilling products which can lead to abuse.
Then again, dispensaries are also required to verify the identity of patients and caregivers before allowing them to purchase medical cannabis products.
Patients must present a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID card, along with their Utah medical card.
On security protocols, a medical marijuana dispensary needs to have video surveillance, alarms and secure storage areas for products. These measures help prevent theft and diversion of products.
Moreover, a medical marijuana dispensary in Utah isn’t permitted to sell recreational cannabis. Hence, the medical card only necessitates the purchase of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
These regulations are courtesy of the state’s medical marijuana program.
What Is Utah’s Medical Marijuana Program?
The medical marijuana program in Utah was established in 2018 when the state passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
The act permits patients with qualifying medical conditions to legally purchase and use marijuana for medical purposes.
The law also comes with stringent conditions on the allowable form of the products and durations you can possess a dosage of the product.
However, for a patient to order marijuana from a dispensary they must first obtain a medical card from the Utah Department of Health.
The process of getting a marijuana medical card can be lengthy hence an able partner like Green Team Doctors can help smoothen the process.
Book an appointment today and get started on your medical cannabis prescription fast.
Medical vs Recreational Marijuana in Utah (Differences and Legal Status)
There are two categories of marijuana, medical and recreational marijuana, worth noting when purchasing and using marijuana in Utah.
On one hand, we have medical cannabis which is prescribed by a doctor for a specific medical condition.
Among other factors, the major checklists to obtain medical marijuana patients must have a qualifying condition and a Utah medical card.
On the other hand, recreational marijuana is cannabis used for non-medical purposes.
Recreational marijuana isn’t legal in Utah and use or possession can result in litigation in the form of fines or jail time.
Medical marijuana has various benefits, it may help with pain relief, anxiety and nausea.
What Is a Marijuana Medical Card?
A medical marijuana card is simply a pass by the state given to patients by the recommendation of a qualified medical provider (QMP) to purchase medical marijuana for qualifying conditions.
The medical card allows patients to purchase cannabis from medical marijuana stores.
A QMP may be a centralized group of practitioners like Green Team Doctors or a doctor that’s trained in prescribing alternative medicine for various conditions.
The medical card is mostly valid for six months and is renewed with the help of a QMP.
The card is provided by the Utah Department of Health, once recommended by a QMP, where you’ll register as a medical cannabis patient.
Upon paying the card issuing fee (currently 15$) you’ll receive your medical card in an email.
The Caveats/ Rules Behind the Possession of a Medical Card in Utah
The medical card is key in ensuring you consume marijuana in a legal way according to state laws.
However, it isn’t a jail-free card for violating federal law on cannabis nor does it authorize violation of other policies and laws of the state.
For example, Utah law prohibits driving with any measurable amount of controlled substance in the body. Remember, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal law.
Moreover, a card may not prevent state or federal enforcement agencies from taking action against you for the use or possession of medical cannabis.
Following the delicate nature of the use and ownership of medical cannabis, having a licensed practitioner (QMP) recommend the medication is necessary.
In addition, possessing a medical marijuana card potentially shields you from litigation.
Do You Need a Medical Card to Buy From a Dispensary in Utah?
Yes, you need a medical card to buy cannabis from a medical marijuana dispensary in Utah.
The most commonly approved state conditions to get you a medical card include pain, nausea and PTSD. There are more medical conditions stipulated in the law for getting a medical cannabis use card.
Moreover, for any conditions not listed a patient may petition the Compassionate Use Board for a medical cannabis card. They review complete petitions and make case-by-case recommendations on eligibility.
Here are the 4 main steps to getting approved for a medical marijuana card in Utah with Green Team Doctors Utah
1. Register With Green Team Doctors
Complete an online pre-screening intake form with us to process your Utah medical marijuana recommendation.
You need to be over 21 years of age and have at least one of the State’s approved conditions. Medical records or documentations aren’t necessary but can help fast-track approval
3. Meet with a Green Team Doctor (QMP)
Book an appointment for an in-person meeting with a QMP. The appointment will be quick and thorough, you’ll be approved within 30 minutes.
4. Submit your application
Once approved submit an online application to the Utah Department of Health’s Electronic Verification System (EVS). The QMP from Green Team Doctors will also submit their recommendation to the EVS. You’ll be required to pay a medical cannabis card fee.
Finally, tap into the medical benefits of cannabis by purchasing from the nearest medical marijuana dispensary.
Benefits of getting a medical marijuana card in Utah
One might wonder what all the fuss is about obtaining a medical card, given the associated costs and lengthy procedures.
So, here are some things to keep in mind when shopping at a medical marijuana dispensary with a medical card.
1. A Medical Card Provides Legal Protection for Patients Using Medical Marijuana as a Treatment Option. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, a medical card can help protect patients from prosecution and other legal issues associated with the possession and use of medical cannabis.
2. You Can Access a Wider Range of Medical Marijuana Products. As a patient, you can buy medical-grade products tailored to specific medical conditions and needs.
3. Patients Can Easily Talk to Their Healthcare Providers About Their Use of Medical Marijuana. The medical cards make it legal to buy from medical cannabis dispensaries. Thus, there are open and honest conversations with healthcare providers about the treatment options.
4. They Help Patients Save Money. In Utah, medical marijuana is subject to lower taxes than recreational marijuana. Moreover, some insurance companies may cover the cost of medical marijuana for patients with a medical card.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card With Green Team Doctors
In order to get the best of medical marijuana in Utah, you need to be compliant with the state laws and get a medical marijuana card.
Getting a medical card is easy, have a qualifying condition and get recommended by a licensed practitioner (QMF).
The medical marijuana card gives you access to purchase medical cannabis from a medical marijuana dispensary. What’s more, you get to use and own the cannabis product legally among other benefits.
Looking to get relief from nausea, PTSD or pain and conventional medicine doesn’t seem to be doing it?
Alternative medicine like medical cannabis may be what you need. Book an appointment with us today and get started on your healing journey with medical marijuana.