If you are a new medical cannabis card holder in Utah, chances are you have never known anything but the current one-year renewal period. But things have not always been that way. Way back in the very beginning, initial medical cannabis cards were only good for 90 days. How does that sound? How would you feel about renewing your card that frequently?
A lot of what went into crafting those early regulations could be construed as trial and error. Medical cannabis was new to everyone – lawmakers, medical professionals, and even patients. But as is usually the case, time and experience allowed lawmakers to work out better ways to do things. Among the many changes we have seen over the years is extending the renewal period to a year.
Letters of Recommendation
Zion Medicinal, a medical cannabis pharmacy serving patients in St. George and Cedar City, says that pharmacies could accept letters of recommendation from patients during the first year of Utah’s program. It was a time when the state was trying to register patients without the benefit of a central database. However, those days were short lived.
As the Utah medical cannabis program entered its second year, lawmakers dispensed with the letters of recommendation. They made it a requirement for all patients to obtain medical cannabis cards after being evaluated by a qualified medical provider (QMP).
Even with that professional evaluation, the initial medical cannabis card was only good for 90 days. Near the end of the first term, a patient would have to visit with a QMP once again. The QMP could recommend renewal for up to six months. That is the way things were for the next couple of years.
Extending to a Year
At some point, lawmakers and regulators realized that the sixth-month term was still too short. They modified the law with an exception that allowed QMPs to recommend a one-your renewal for certain patients under special circumstances. They eventually did away with the six-month term altogether. This is where we are today.
A new medical cannabis card obtained today is good for one year. In order to renew, a patient has to visit once again with a QMP or LMP. Note that you do not have to visit the same medical provider you did when you got your original card. Any QMP or LMP will do.
Why Renewals Are Necessary
At this point, you might be wondering why medical cannabis card renewals are even necessary. Try to think about it in terms of any other prescription medication. There are rules in place to make sure that medications are being recommended and dispensed properly. In this regard, medical cannabis is no different than a medication for high blood pressure or diabetes.
Doctors are not allowed to endlessly prescribe medications without seeing patients. So if you were on medication for high blood pressure, you would have to occasionally visit your doctor so he or she could evaluate your health and whether or not the medication was helping. The same is true for medical cannabis.
Requiring you to visit with a medical provider gives the provider an opportunity to monitor your health and safety. It is all about helping you feel better while also making sure that medical cannabis is actually doing for you what it’s supposed to do.
Now you know how we got from 90 days to a full year on the Utah medical cannabis card. If you have a valid card, you can visit any licensed medical cannabis pharmacy in the state to purchase cannabis vapes, gummies, concentrated oils, in more.