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Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program Getting Set Up For Operation

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State lawmakers passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act in December, meaning the new program has to be set up and ready to go.

There’s a room inside Utah’s Department of Agriculture that has existed since the building was constructed. However, the work now being done there is brand new.

“It’s a challenge, but that’s why I’m here. I think that’s why all of us are here,” said Andrew Rigby while sitting on a chair at a table in the middle of the room.

Rigby manages Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program.

Next month, it all begins.

“I feel very comfortable and I feel very confident in our ability to meet deadlines,” said Rigby.

Those deadlines include selecting what farms will grow the cannabis. Utah is limiting those licenses to just 10.

After it’s grown, it needs to be processed. There are an unlimited number of processing licenses available, broken into Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 1 allows the processor to dry, trim, and cure plants, as well as extract and refine oils, and package the product.

Tier 2 is just packaging and labeling the products.

The licensing costs for each tier is where Utah hopes to make enough money to cover the cost of it’s new medical cannabis program.

A Tier 1 license will cost the processor $100,000. The Tier 2 license runs $35,000.

Combined with application costs and other fees, the state estimates it can generate $1,165,000 in revenue the first year, which is exactly what it is estimated the entire program will cost in year one for employees and equipment.

“Well, we hope so because we don’t have the ability to run a deficit with the state. The program was created to be a self-sustaining program,” said Rigby.

A public hearing on the topic will be held at the Department of Agriculture on June 26. Public comments are being accepted until July 15.

Utah’s medical marijuana program is set to begin July 22.

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