Patient FAQ

With a recommendation letter from a medical provider, a patient could only purchase medical cannabis from one medical cannabis pharmacy and only until December 31, 2020.  In contrast, a medical cannabis card allows a patient to purchase medical cannabis from any medical cannabis pharmacy in Utah even after December 31, 2020 if the patient renews their card. Recommendation letters are not registered with the department while medical cannabis cards are.

Individuals may apply for a medical cannabis card at medicalcannabis.utah.gov. The application process is summarized here. Medical cannabis cards cannot be obtained from a medical cannabis pharmacy, medical clinic, or from any entity other than the Utah Department of Health.

The requirements to get a medical cannabis card include:

  1. Must be a Utah Resident;
  2. Must have at least one qualifying condition;
  3. Submit application online;
  4. Meet in-person with a medical provider registered with the Utah Department of Health to recommend medical cannabis;
  5. Medical provider has certified your eligibility for a medical cannabis card online; and
  6. Pay a $15 application fee online.

NOTE: If a patient is a minor under the age of 21 or if they are an adult over 21 but do not have a qualifying condition, the application must be reviewed by the Compassionate Use Board. A minor cannot receive a medical cannabis card unless their parent or legal guardian qualifies for a medical cannabis guardian card.

A patient’s first medical cannabis card is active for 90 days from the date it was issued. Within the first 90 days, the patient and their medical provider must renew the patient’s the medical cannabis card online or the card expires.  Subsequent card renewal cycles are every six months or one year. The one year renewal cycle is possible if after at least one year following the issuance of the original card, the QMP determines that the patient has been stabilized on medical cannabis treatment and a one-year renewal period is justified.[1]

[1] Utah Code 26-61a-201 (5)

Medical cannabis cardholders may visit a medical cannabis pharmacy to purchase product. There may be only one or two pharmacies open in March 2020. Eight pharmacies plan to open by June 30, 2020 and an additional six plan to open on or after July 1, 2020.

For adult patients ages 21 and older with a qualifying condition, the application review process will be completed 15 days or less from the date the application is submitted. For minor patients younger than age 21 and adult patients without a qualifying condition, the application review process will be completed 90 days or less from the date the application is submitted, as these applications must be reviewed by the Compassionate Use Board.

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has a list of medical providers who have registered with the UDOH as “qualified medical providers” (QMPs). This list only includes those QMPs who have authorized the UDOH to post their name, specialty, and contact information on the UDOH website. This list will be updated frequently.

Participation in the medical cannabis program as a medical provider is voluntary and some providers will not choose to become QMPs. If your current provider will not be participating in the program, you may choose to consult with other providers covered by your health insurance about their registration status or talk to your provider about seeing a QMP that they recommend.

Qualifying conditions under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act are listed below:

  • HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • cancer
  • cachexia
  • persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to:
    • pregnancy
    • cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome
    • cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • epilepsy or debilitating seizures
  • multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a licensed health therapist (defined here), and that:
    • has been diagnosed by a healthcare provider by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or
    • has been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation from a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN
  • autism
  • a terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
  • a condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
  • a rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions
  • pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions

Patients with medical conditions not listed in the law may petition the Compassionate Use Board for a medical cannabis card, which will review petitions and recommend eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Yes. To qualify, a patient with PTSD must be treated and monitored by a Utah licensed mental health therapist (defined here). Additionally, a patient’s PTSD must:

  1. have been diagnosed by a healthcare provider or a mental health provider employed or contracted by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or
  2. have been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation by a psychiatrist, at least a master’s level psychologist, a master’s level licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN.

Medical cannabis will only be available in the following forms under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act:

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Concentrated oil
  • Liquid suspension
  • Transdermal preparation
  • Gelatinous cube
  • Unprocessed cannabis flower in a tamper evident and resistant container that is opaque that contains a quantity that varies no more than 10% from the stated weight at the time of packaging
  • Wax or resin
  • Medical cannabis device such as a vaping pen that warms cannabis material into a vapor without the use of a flame and that delivers cannabis to an individual’s respiratory system

Smoking of cannabis is not permitted.

The law prohibits candies, cookies, brownies, and other edible products.

Qualifying patients may not possess:

  • More than 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis (flower); and
  • More than 20 grams of total composite THC in all other medicinal dosage forms.

Within a 30-day period, qualifying patients may not purchase:

  • more than 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis (flower); and
  • more than 20 grams of total composite THC in all other medicinal dosage forms.

Within a 30-day period, qualifying patients may not purchase:

  • more than 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis (flower); and
  • more than 20 grams of total composite THC in all other medicinal dosage forms.

No, cannabis is not legal under federal law.

Because medical cannabis users are not a protected class, there are no renter protections for those who choose to possess and use medical cannabis.

There are some limited protections for state and local government employees. The Utah Medical Cannabis Act allows these employers to treat medical cannabis use in the same fashion as opioids or opiates, meaning that disciplinary action and/or termination may occur due to impairment or poor job performance.

Private employees are subject to their employers’ policies, which may include zero-tolerance for cannabis and/or drug testing.

Yes. It is legal under Utah law for anyone to purchase and possess hemp extract, or CBD oil, if it contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These products must be registered with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is not accepting applications from companies seeking medical cannabis pharmacy licenses at this time. In January 2020, the UDOH announced the names of companies to whom it intends to award 14 medical cannabis pharmacy licenses.

As long as a medical provider meets requirements outlined the Title 26, Chapter 61a, Utah Medical Cannabis Act, the provider is not subject to the following solely for violating a federal law or regulation that would otherwise prohibit recommending, prescribing, or dispensing medical cannabis, a medical cannabis product, or a cannabis-based drug that the United States Food and Drug Administration has not approved:

  • Civil or criminal liability; or
  • Licensure sanctions for a profession as described under the Pharmacy Practice Act, Nurse Practice Act, Utah Medical Practice Act, Utah Osteopathic Medical Practice Act, or Physician Assistant Act.

Coursework posted at this link has been approved by the Utah Department of Health to fulfill the education requirement to become qualified medical providers (QMPs). Completion of any one of the courses posted at that link fulfill the 4 hour education requirement to become registered as a qualified medical provider in Utah.

Monthly updates and other news can be found at https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/resources/program-news/.

To sign up for the Utah Medical Cannabis Program Monthly Update emails, click here.

Beginning in March 2020, there will be four types of medical cannabis cards: patient cards, guardian cards, provisional patient cards, and caregiver cards.

Patient Cards: Patients 18 years of age and older. Patients under 21 years of age must have approval from the Compassionate Use Board.

Guardian Cards: Parents or legal guardians of minors who are eligible to consume medical cannabis. These cards are issued in conjunction with provisional patient cards.

Provisional Patient Cards: Minors under the age of 18 who meet the eligibility requirements to consume medical cannabis. These are issued in conjunction with guardian cards. All provisional patient cards must have approval from the Compassionate Use Board.

Caregiver Cards: Adults 21 years of age and older who care for patient cardholders who are unable to procure or consume medical cannabis on their own. Caregivers must be designated by the patient cardholders they will be assisting.

The following fees apply to medical cannabis cards:

  • Patient Card (initial): $15
  • Patient Card (first 30-day renewal): $5
  • Patient Card (six-month renewal): $15
  • Guardian Card (initial): $66.25
  • Guardian Card (first 30-day renewal): $5
  • Guardian Card (six-month renewal): $24
  • Caregiver Card (initial): $66.25
  • Caregiver Card (six-month renewal): $14

Yes, all patients must have a recommendation from a qualified medical provider (QMP) registered with the Utah Department of Health in order to obtain a medical cannabis card. A QMP must be a Utah licensed physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has a controlled substance license and must have completed four hours of approved education and registered with the department.

Qualified medical providers (QMPs) may submit directions for use and dosing guidelines for their patients in the electronic verification system (EVS) or they may leave those up to the pharmacy medical provider at the medical cannabis pharmacy to determine.

The Compassionate Use Board is responsible to review all card applications from patients under the age of 21 and patients with conditions not listed in statute. These patients must submit medical cannabis card application, petition the Board, and be approved by the Board and the Utah Department of Health before a medical cannabis card can be issued. The Board consists of seven providers who meet to review applications for medical cannabis cards on a case-by-case basis.

The state central patient portal is an online tool that will allow cardholders to order medical cannabis online. Orders will be fulfilled by a local medical cannabis pharmacy and will be made available for pick-up at the pharmacy or delivered to the cardholder’s home. Medical cannabis pharmacies will not offer online ordering and home delivery service until after July 2020.

A medical cannabis cardholder visiting from another state may use medical cannabis in Utah as long as the patient has one of the qualifying conditions listed in Utah law and possesses medical cannabis in the Utah’s legal medicinal dosage form and amount.

A new resident who has lived in Utah for less than 45 days may utilize a medical cannabis card from another state to allow them to possess medical cannabis legally but they cannot purchase product from a medical cannabis pharmacy in Utah. After 45 days, the out of state card is no longer valid in Utah and the patient must apply for a Utah medical cannabis patient card with a recommendation from a Utah qualified medical provider.

Utah law limits the number of medical cannabis pharmacies to 14 although the Utah Department of Health has the authority to approve additional licenses if certain conditions are met. When the online ordering and home delivery service begins after July 2020, cardholders who live long distances from the nearest medical cannabis pharmacy may prefer to order from the state central patient portal online or by phone and have their shipments of medical cannabis delivered to their homes.

A qualified medical provider (QMP) may not recommend medical cannabis treatment to more than 275 of their patients with active medical cannabis cards at one time, or to more than 600 patients if the QMP is certified by the appropriate American medical board in anesthesiology, neurology, oncology, pain, hospice and palliative medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, endocrinology, rheumatology, or psychiatry or if a licensed business employs or contracts the QMP for the specific purpose of providing hospice and palliative care.

No. Cardholders may consult in person with a medical provider at one of the medical cannabis pharmacies for specific dosage and form advice. A medical provider may provide specific dosing information if desired, but it is not required to issue a recommendation.

No. All participants in the medical cannabis program must submit a valid and current form of government-issued photo ID. Please visit the Utah Department of Public Safety website for more information about obtaining an Identification Card or Driver License. Information about obtaining a United States passport or passport card can be found here.

Only in very rare cases does the Utah Department of Health have authority to release information about whether an individual holds a medical cannabis card without first obtaining written consent from the medical cannabis cardholder.  Here are some examples of the rare cases when the department is authorized to release identifiable information about a cardholder without the department obtaining written consent from the cardholder:
  • 1. Utah Code 26-61a-103 (4) provides that all Utah-licensed physicians, APRNs, and PAs may access information about a cardholder if the cardholder is a patient the prescribing provider treats.
  • 2. Utah Code 26-61a-103 (2)(g) provides that state and local law enforcement may verify if an individual holds a medical cannabis card during a law enforcement encounter.  If state and local law enforcement wants to verify the medical cannabis card of an individual at a time other than during a law enforcement encounter, they must first obtain a warrant from a court judge for that information.  If state or local law enforcement want a cardholder’s medical cannabis product purchase history, they must first obtain a warrant from a court judge for that information.
  • 3. Utah Code 26-61a-103 (5) provides that the department may release limited data collected about cardholders for the purpose of conducting medical and other department approved research. In the future, it is possible that medical researchers from an accredited university may obtain approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to conduct medical research.  In these cases, only limited data about cardholder’s would be released.
The Utah Department of Health is careful to ensure the protection of card holder information. In the rare cases when it is legal to release the data, the department requires that the users of the cardholder information comply with strict standards to ensure its protection and to ensure its use is limited to the purpose for which it was released.

*Updated 1/4/21