The latest reports revealed that Utah health officials plan to give medical cannabis pharmacy licenses to 10 companies. These companies will be authorized to dispense medical cannabis at 14 sites spread across the state. This news marks a significant development in the program’s imminent launch. According to Utah medical cannabis program, dispensaries are known as ‘pharmacies.’ The name is meant for emphasis on the program’s medical aspect.
The Department of Health announced the chosen sites, which are primarily concentrated in metro Salt Lake City and elsewhere in northern Utah. Also, there are two sites in Southern Utah and one in the rural eastern Utah region.
The northern Utah sites include Ogden, Linden, West Bountiful, Springville, Logan, Provo and Park City. There is a site that is yet to be determined, which will be located in Morgan County, Box Elder County, or Rich County.
The southern sites include St. George and Cedar City, while the only place in eastern Utah is Vernal. But, some of the locations may change since some processes are still underway, including criminal background checks, site acquisitions, and reviews of operating plans. Eight of the sites may open by March while the others would open by July.
All these sites were evaluated and selected via a competitive scoring procedure from over 130 applications received from at least 60 companies. Due to the nature of competitiveness, some of the qualified applicants will be left disappointed. The Director of the Center for Medical Cannabis, Richard Oborn, said that the criteria used to select these sites include regulatory compliance, medical marijuana experience, and local community connections.
Also, sites were considered with regard to their strategic plan with a high likelihood of success. The selection of these sites is a significant achievement for Utah’s launch of its medical cannabis program since it allows companies to begin authenticating their locations. Also, the chosen companies can hire the right employees and get ready for the rollout.
Utah residents approved the ballot initiative dubbed Proposition 2 in November 2018. That approval legalized doctor-approved cannabis treatment for various health conditions. State lawmakers in December 2018 replaced the measure with a law that puts tighter controls on the distribution, production, and use of the drug.
The executive director of the Utah Patients Coalition, Desiree Hennessy, said that the selection announcement is welcomed since it means the program’s launch is approaching.