On Monday, the state of Utah opened its first medical marijuana pharmacy. This has allowed patients to buy marijuana medicine legally within the state and without having to go to the other states to purchase medical cannabis and sneak the products illegally back to their homes.
The dispensary, which is known as Dragonfly Wellness located at 711 State in Salt Lake City, has marked a milestone for Utah’s medical marijuana program, which has been in the works for nearly 15 months since the voters and the lawmakers approved it.
Speaking at a press conference, the chief strategy officer at Dragonfly, Narith Panh said that for a long while they have been told what and what not to do, and now they have the chance of taking back control of their health, lifestyle, and how they manage their medical conditions.
The head of Utah’s Center for Medical Marijuana, Richard Oborn, said that the state is expected to open 14 dispensaries this year and Dragonfly is one of them.
The restauranteurs behind Sapa Sushi Bar and Grill own Dragonfly, and it is a vertically integrated pot business that has a marijuana farm and a processing facility.
On Friday morning, Oborn said that the state has started accepting applications for medical marijuana cards from patients, and the Department of Health in Utah has already issued 14 patients with medical marijuana cards. Oborn noted that about 300 patients have applied for medical marijuana cards so far.
One of the cardholders, Deanna Denmead, said that although people were using weed all around her in the 1950 and 1960s, she never tried using it because she was afraid of it and believed that it was addictive and acted as a gateway to other hard drugs. Denmead has been using opioids after her hip surgery, and they were making her sick and gave her headaches. She said that she was taking three or four ibuprofen pills at a time for knee osteoarthritis, but they did not manage to alleviate the pain completely.
On Monday, Denmead said that marijuana relieves her of the pain and that she is planning on buying a marijuana-infused salve to rub on the back of her knees and her feet to manage the pain.
An individual must have any of the conditions on the list of qualifying conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV, autism, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain to be eligible for medical marijuana cards or receive approval from marijuana certified doctors within the state.
Oborn added that they did not have any challenges with the state’s electronic patient portal over the weekend. He also said that the vendors are working together with state officials to fix problems related to website navigation and payment processing. He noted that they would keep improving the site to make it more intuitive and user-friendly.
The marijuana program manager for the Department of Agriculture and Food in Utah, Andrew Rigby, said that now that the sale of medical marijuana has been launched, the licensed marijuana cultivators in the state already have plants growing, and they are prepared to increase production as the program develops.
Dragonfly Wellness has 16 employees and will be open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It also has a community center where health professionals will host events to educate people about the use of marijuana as a medicine.
It is widely believed that industry players like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) are relieved that the medical marijuana industry in Utah is finally off the ground.
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