The Utah Department of Health will begin accepting applications for patient medical cannabis cards on Sunday at 9 a.m.
So far, 47 Utah medical providers have been approved to participate in the program.
To get a card you must:
- Have one of the qualifying medical conditions.
- Meet with a medical provider who is registered in the cannabis program.
- Pay the 15 dollar state application fee
Patients can apply for a card or find a registered Medical provider here.
Rich Oborn, director of the state’s Center for Medical Cannabis, said most patients will likely seek cards to treat chronic pain — one of the qualifying conditions.
The law defines chronic pain as pain that lasts for more than two weeks.
Oborn said while 47 doctors have signed up at this point, more will follow. He said he understands some doctors might be hesitant to register for the cannabis program since under federal law, marijuana is still illegal.
“We understand their reservation to participate in a state program to recommend a drug that continues to be federally illegal,” he said.
Tim Pickett, a physician assistant who works with surgical patients in his traditional practice, is one of the first providers to register for the medical marijuana program. He’s been studying medical marijuana for years and said it’s safer than most other medications already prescribed.
“I treat it like normal medicine. It should be something we offer our patients and help them use safely,” he said.
Pickett, who opened a clinic in downtown Salt Lake, said he believes marijuana, when combined with safe opioid use, can help patients who deal with chronic pain. He believes the overall effect for pain patients will be better sleep and mobility.
For society, he believes medical marijuana can reduce opioid addiction and overdoses.
He said many patients and medical providers still have questions about medical marijuana, and there are still many myths about medical marijuana.
“A lot of patients are afraid that if they start medical cannabis, it’s the gateway to harder street drugs. It just hasn’t been the case nationwide,” he said.