Oct 27, 2023 - Health

A South Ogden dispensary makes it easier to access medical cannabis

Illustration of weekly pill case with marijuana leaves labels.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A South Ogden dispensary is making it easier for Utahns to obtain medical cannabis cards.

Driving the news: The Flower Shop is organizing a pop-up with Lotus Health, a clinic outside their brick-and-mortar location, to connect prospective patients with qualifying conditions to a medical provider who's licensed to issue the cards.

  • The event will run Friday from noon to 5pm.
  • The cost for would-be cardholders or those renewing is $100, plus a $15 fee required by the state.
  • Appointments take between 15 and 30 minutes, and bringing your medical records is encouraged.

Why it matters: Applying for a card can be a tedious and expensive process for Utahns, Justin Jennings, director of retail operations for The Flower Shop, tells Axios.

  • A medical provider willing to recommend medical cannabis can be hard to find, with some providers charging more than $200 for such appointments.
  • Of note: Dispensaries and medical providers are allowed to set their own prices for products and evaluations.

By the numbers: More than 72,000 Utahns are active cardholders, according to September figures from the state health department.

  • Most patients who qualify seek medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, Jennings noted.

Yes, but: More than 40,000 cardholders have let their cards expire since the state rolled out its medical program in 2020.

  • Proponents of medical marijuana access attribute the dearth of renewals to high costs, the lack of providers, and competition from the black market, per Salt Lake City Weekly.

What they're saying: Danielle Conlon, a spokesperson for the state health department, said the agency has focused on increasing access through its limited medical provider program, which allows doctors to recommend cannabis to up to 15 patients.

The bottom line: Jenning said the dispensary's monthly pop-up events, which started this year, are gaining steam.

  • Last month's event produced over 70 new cardholders.
  • He expects Friday's to draw between 50 and 100 people.
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