Utah's First Medical Cannabis Pharmacy Opens
Dragonfly Wellness, Utah’s first medical cannabis pharmacy, officially opened for business Monday.
Located just south of downtown Salt Lake City, it’s one of 14 approved pharmacies to sell the product in the state, which has been working for the last year to launch the program.
Andrew Rigby, director of Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis at the Utah Department of Agriculture, said the medical marijuana industry still has a long way to go in Utah before it’s fully operational, but the program is at least starting on schedule.
“As soon as we were able to be open for business, we wanted to be open for business,” Rigby said. “So the system has been built, we're able to fulfill products for patients.”
Dragonfly also grows and manufactures cannabis products, with prices ranging from $15 to $95. And since Utah doesn’t allow patients to smoke the flower, it comes in the form of edibles, oils, topical creams and vaporizing cartridges.
Even though patients with a past doctor’s recommendation can legally use cannabis in Utah, they won’t be able to buy it in the state without a medical card. To get one, they’ll need approval from a qualified medical provider.
As of last week, 59 doctors had been approved across the state by the Department of Health, though several more have applied. And because some still have questions about how cannabis can be used to treat patients, pharmacies will have in-house staff to help determine a patient’s specific needs, such as the dosage needed per product.
“It's really on the history of the patient — what they've been using, what they're used to using,” said Rajiv Sharma, one of two licensed pharmacists who will be on-hand at Dragonfly. “A lot of patients are very knowledgeable on what they want. We're really here to guide them towards that sweet spot.”
The Department of Health said it’s also considering hiring an in-house pharmacist of its own who could counsel patients if they weren’t comfortable talking to pharmacists at a dispensary.
Rigby said two more pharmacies are expected to open by early April, with most others up and running by July.
Jon Reed is a reporter for KUER. Follow him on Twitter @reedathonjon