The Utah State Legislature has approved a change to a new measure that would increase the number of medical cannabis pharmacies and cultivators.
This has previously been a hot-button issue in Utah. Many residents felt that there should be unlimited pharmacies, while others felt there should only be 12 or fewer. This approval represents a compromise for both sides. “Why should we determine and set a statute on how many specific numbers there should be?” questioned House House Majority Whip Mike Schultz, speaking to KSL. “Every one of us is just throwing a dart at a dart board when we try to pick a number.”
He also argued that the numbers should be based off of market demands instead of arbitrary rules. “It’s certainly been a big issue that’s been raised,” Schultz said. However, “I think there’s broad consensus around ‘We need to get this figured out.’ So I don’t think it’ll unravel anything.”
While this bill would expand the number of pharmacies to 14, it also adds in a clause to add eight licenses for another group of pharmacies if needed, and eventually, even six more than that if it becomes necessary. It will only expand based on supply and demand.
All of these tweaks are going into effect immediately so that the program can still be up and running by March 1, when medical cannabis is expected to first become available.
Utah is a state that has had a difficult time coming around to the new era of legal cannabis. Parents can still lose custody for using cannabis in the state, even if they are medical patients, and currently only a small percentage of residents consume and support cannabis. The progression of SB-1002 is a big step forward for the newly medical state.