On Wednesday, health officials declared that the medical marijuana program launched by the state of Utah is as per the schedule and will be functional in a few weeks. They also said that the program would start in a small way.
The scheme is expected to start operations from the first week of March. Initially, there will be about two dispensaries, which will be issuing patient cards that can be used to procure marijuana in the state of Utah legally.
There will be few dispensaries at the beginning, as officials expect that there will not be much demand for the drug because patients have to get cards before they can purchase marijuana. There are plans to set up eight dispensaries by July. These dispensaries will be known as pharmacies in the state.
The biggest challenge the health officials envision that the scheme is going to face is that the patient cards will be issued only on the recommendation of a doctor, and medical practitioners are hesitant to recommend this drug to a patient as it is still illegal on a federal level.
Marc Babitz, deputy director of Utah Department of Health, addressing a panel of lawmakers, said that “I think this is actually much safer than a lot of the medications that we use.” However, he fears that “very limited” doctors are interested in prescribing this drug to a patient.
Utah is among the 33 states that have legalized medical marijuana. None of the doctors from these states have ever been prosecuted for prescribing the drug to a patient.