Lawmakers Toss State System, Double Cannabis Pharmacies In Special Session

By: NICOLE NIXON

Utah lawmakers approved a medical cannabis system that will use more privately-run dispensaries instead of public health departments to help distribute the drug. 

The bill — approved unanimously by both chambers in a special session Monday night — allows for at least 14 private cannabis pharmacies, up from the current seven, as well as home delivery of the drug.

At the heart of the changes were concerns from county attorneys over the possibility of local health departments dispensing cannabis.

Attorneys from Salt Lake, Davis and Weber Counties had taken issue with the state-run “central fill system.” They said local health departments’ federal funding would be jeopardized if they distributed cannabis, which is federally illegal.

“This bill is a step forward. It certainly isn’t the end of it,” said House sponsor Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem. He said that without the legislation, the state would not meet its March 2020 deadline to have products on shelves.

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