Utah gears up for sale of medical marijuana

Utah is gearing up for the introduction of medical marijuana in March with the pre-registration of medical providers for the state’s medical cannabis program. Registration as a qualified medical provider enables a provider to recommend medical cards for their patients.

Patient cards will be available beginning next month, but state officials say it is important for medical providers to begin the process now of being a qualified medical provider.

 

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“The first patients to receive medical cannabis cards and be eligible to purchase cannabis product in Utah next month will be those with providers who pre-registered during the month of February,” said Richard Oborn, director of the Center for Medical Cannabis at the Utah Department of Health.

Utah voters approved the use of medical cannabis in the state in the Nov. 2018 election. State lawmakers replaced the voted measure with a new law in December 2018 that set up the infrastructure to begin the sale of medical marijuana. Sales begin March 2020.

To register as qualified medical provider with the medical cannabis program, a provider must:

  • be licensed in Utah as a medical doctor (MD), osteopathic physician (DO), advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), or physician assistant (PA);
  • hold a Utah controlled substance license,
  • verify completion at least four hours of coursework pre-approved by the UDOH in medical cannabis treatment and medical cannabis laws,
  • pay a $100 registration fee; and
  • submit a complete application to the UDOH.

Confusion exists among providers about whether they can bill a patient’s health insurance for medical cannabis treatment, Oborn said. Providers can bill a patient’s health insurance for the visits in which a medical card evaluation is performed using a billing code for whatever the patient’s ailment, Oborn said.

When the medical cannabis program begins in March, a patient can only get a medical cannabis card by first submitting an online application and then getting a recommendation for treatment from a provider registered with the UDOH, Oborn said.