Medical Cannabis Policy Advisory Board

Meeting Agendas and Minutes Information: See the opens in a new tabUtah Public Notice Website. Search Categories: Government: State Entity: Department of Health and Human Services Body: Medical Cannabis Policy Advisory Board.

General Information

Utah lawmakers passed House Bill 72 Medical Cannabis Governance Revisions, during the 2023 legislative session. This bill created the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, which will act as a public forum for stakeholders of the state’s medical cannabis program.  At monthly meetings, the advisory board will discuss medical cannabis policy issues and recommend policy to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),  the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), and state lawmakers.  

Board Authority and Duties

  • The advisory board may recommend the following: 
    • to the DHHS or the UDAF changes to current or proposed medical cannabis rules or statutes; or
    • to the appropriate legislative committee whether the advisory board supports changing medical cannabis statutes.  
  • The advisory board will:
    • review any draft rule that is authorized by Title 26B, Chapter 4, Part 2,  Cannabinoid Research and Medical Cannabis or Title 4, Chapter 41a, Cannabis Production Establishments and Pharmacies
    • consult with the UDAF regarding the issuance of an additional: cultivation facility license or  pharmacy license; 
    • consult with the DHHS regarding cannabis patient education; 
    • consult regarding the reasonableness of any fees set by the DHHS or the UDAF that pertain to the medical cannabis program;  
    • consult regarding any issue pertaining to medical cannabis when asked by the DHHS and the UDAF; and
    • review recommendations from the Cannabis Research Review Board regarding restrictions for a substance found in a medical cannabis product that is likely harmful to human health; or is associated with a substance that is likely to be harmful to human health.

Board Members

Misty Smith, PhD is a research assistant professor at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Smith has been a member of the Cannabis Research Review Board (CRRB) since May 2021. She has over 20 years of experience as a basic science researcher in behavioral pharmacology and holds the DEA Schedule I & II-V controlled substance licenses and Schedule I import/export licenses for an Epilepsy Therapy Screening Program (ETSP) control site. 

Desiree Hennessy is the director of the Utah Patients Coalition (UPC). UPC is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower patients to make informed health decisions through advocating legal access to plant medicine in Utah. Desiree has helped patients with a variety of health conditions obtain safe and effective access to cannabis-based treatments.

Nanette Berezhnyy is a medical cannabis patient and parent to a child who participates in the state’s medical cannabis program. Ms. Berezhnyy has held a medical cannabis guardian card since December 2020 and has held her own medical cannabis patient card since June 2021. 

Kent Andersen is a member of the public who does not hold a medical cannabis card. Kent is the Community and Economic Development director for Davis County. As director, he manages the county’s operations related to economic development, planning/building/transportation, and tourism and events. 

Matthew Page is the chief operating officer and co-founder of Riverside Farms, a licensed cannabis cultivator and processor located in Box Elder County. Matthew worked with other license holders to produce products that were available to patients at the state’s first medical cannabis pharmacy in March 2020. Riverside Farms is not vertically-integrated in the state, as it does not also own a medical cannabis pharmacy license. 

JD Lauritzen is an attorney at WholesomeCo, a medical cannabis pharmacy in West Bountiful. He has expertise in medical cannabis pharmacy operations, particularly vertically-integrated medical cannabis pharmacies. WholesomeCo is a vertically integrated cannabis company in the state, as it also has a cannabis cultivation and processing license. 

Jimmy Higgs is a state trooper and deputy commissioner at the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS). With more than 24 years of public safety experience, Deputy Commissioner Higgs has served in various capacities, including Utah Highway Patrol trooper, executive protection detail, and executive officer to the commissioner of Public Safety. He oversees three divisions at DPS: the State Bureau of Investigations, the State Information and Analysis Center, and the State Crime Lab. 

Chris Morgan is an APRN with a background in outpatient and inpatient psychiatric care. He is a partner, medical director, and lab director for Logan Medical Group. His primary role is managing Cache Valley Endocrine and Family Medicine, a subsidiary of Logan Medical Group.

Cami Clark is a CMHC and is the Chief Operating Officer of Clinical Consultants, LLC, a substance abuse and mental health treatment organization with 3 locations on the Wasatch Front. She oversees outpatient operations provided to individuals seeking substance use disorder, mental health, and domestic violence services. She has worked with youth and adults dealing with a variety of mental health and substance use related concerns for over a decade and was awarded the 2021 Utah Board of Juvenile Justice Advocate of the Year.