State Officials Gearing Up Medical Marijuana Program

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Monday morning marked the first steps taken by Utah state officials toward the effort in making medical cannabis available to patients.

Medical marijuana was first legalized by Utah Legislature in December of the previous year. Through this, law dictates that the state agriculture department is to issue licenses pertaining to the cultivation, lab testing and processing of the cannabis. The state health department is subsequently in charge of issuing the medical cards to patients as well as licensing medical cannabis pharmacies and registering medical providers.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, alongside the Utah Department of Health, are now receiving bids for an electronic verification system and inventory control system.

These systems will form the backbone of the cannabis program in Utah as they track cannabis plants from the time they are only eight inches tall with an ID tag all throughout the cultivation, processing and distribution.

It is expected that the agencies will soon sign a contract worth nearly $5 million, set for five years. While the system is a critical piece of the program due to tracking, it will also ensure that stock is kept, even the parts of the cannabis plant that are disposed of.

Patients will also be allowed to apply for and renew medical cannabis cards through the system. Furthermore, medical marijuana may be ordered from the state’s central fill pharmacy, purchases will be tracked and a record of the amount of cannabis in different facilities, pharmacies and testing labs will be kept on record.

A contract is expected to be awarded in May to a software provider. In March 2020, the systems must be up and running, as this is when the program is slated to officially begin.

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