SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, with the Utah Department of Health, is working hard to make sure there’s enough medicinal marijuana to go around when the law allows that to happen.
“Cannabis is a four-month crop on average,” said Andrew Rigby, the state’s cannabis program manager. He has filed for an expedited rules process, following the passage of HB3001 in late 2018, to give growers “as much time as possible to do what they do and do it responsibly” and to have product available by March 1. The product could be ready as early as Jan. 1, Rigby told Utah lawmakers during the Health and Human Services Committee‘s first legislative interim meeting on Wednesday.
The program will put out a request for proposals for cultivators on June 1 and hopes to be issuing licenses for cannabis production by July 1.
“We need to give them time to get plants in the ground or pots in the greenhouses,” said Rigby, a Salt Lake City native who worked with the cannabis industry in California and Nevada before heading it up in Utah.
Cultivators, processors and distributors of medicinal marijuana products in Utah must be registered with the state’s Department of Agriculture, which will basically monitor and track each and every plant, according to the new law, which replaces Utah voter intentions of making the products more widely available with the 2018 passage of Proposition 2.
More than 600 hemp products are available throughout the state. CBD oil has previously only been available only to patients with a hemp extract registration card, but the new law did away with that requirement.