The slow-motion rollout of Utah’s voter-approved medical marijuana program hurdles forward, with health officials forecasting a limited launch in the coming weeks.
Marc Babitz, deputy director with the Utah Department of Health, told a group of state lawmakers Wednesday that only one or two dispensaries are slated to open in the first week of March, and that even then it will likely be difficult for patients to get a cannabis prescription.
That’s because Babitz said the number of physicians who have indicated they’re interested in recommending marijuana for patients is “very limited” — something he attributed to wariness over prescribing a drug that remains illegal on the federal level.
“I think this is actually much safer than a lot of the medications that we use,” Babitz said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Medical Marijuana in Utah
Voters in Utah approved a referendum legalizing medical marijuana in 2018, making it the 33rd state to do so.
But the lead-up to the program’s March launch has been marked by delays and controversies. After voters approved the measure 53 percent to 47 percent, Utah legislators immediately began work on a compromise bill to overwrite the proposal approved at the ballot. The bill