The first medical cannabis dispensary in Utah has opened its doors. The shop is called Dragonfly Wellness, located at 711 State St. in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s been nearly fifteen months since medical marijuana became legal throughout the Beehive State. Now, over a year later, the first medical dispensary has finally begun sales, finally giving a limited number of patients access to medical cannabis. Chief Strategy Officer for Dragonfly Wellness, Narity Panh, spoke at a recent press conference, saying, “For far too long we’ve been told what we should do and what we shouldn’t do. And now, finally, we have that option to be able to take back control of our own health, to take back control of our lifestyle, to take back control of how we manage our medical conditions.” “Whether it’s meeting some shady guy in a back alley you need to go get some medicine from or having to drive countless hours back and forth between Colorado and Nevada and doing those trips just to provide medicine for your family. So for those families, this is for them because they no longer have to do that anymore," said Panh. Patient Educator for the store and fellow medical marijuana patient, Wade Laughter, told ABC 4 at the dispensary’s grand opening, “I don’t think you understand how profoundly beautiful it is to someone like myself. I feel grateful and at a loss for words.” Twitter user Bethany Rodgers, captured the grand opening in a Tweet last week:
Utah’s first medical cannabis pharmacy, Dragonfly Wellness, is open! pic.twitter.com/mFfAbfjdSP
Just over a week ago, the Utah Department of Health officially started accepting applications to register medical cannabis patients in the state program. So far, around a hundred patients have been approved and issued medical cards. The Utah Department of Health (@UtahDepofHealth) announced in a Tweet on Thursday, “Our Medical Cannabis Program hit a milestone today; we’ve issued 100 medical cannabis cards! We’ve also reached 116 qualified medical providers approved in the EVS.” The backlog inpatient applications has already had a significant impact on business for Dragonfly Wellness. The dispensary had just 16 customers in its first day, and only one person was allowed in the next day. The store was forced to turn away at least 200 customers in a single day alone, many of them with qualifying health conditions under the new law. According to a FOX 13 interview on Wednesday with the managing partner and co-owner Hoang Nguyen, “We have plenty of product. We are not going to run out of product. It’s just, we don’t have patients right now. It’s so heartbreaking to have to turn away these patients who come to our door and have the letter thinking they can come in and they can’t. We just can’t.” Back in 2018, Utah residents voted in favor of passing a ballot measure to legalize the medicinal use of the plant for a limited list of qualifying patients. The current list of approved conditions includes autism, cancer, epilepsy, HIV, intractable pain last for longer than two weeks, and multiple sclerosis. Patients with other health issues are able to petition the state medical board for approval to participate in the medical cannabis program. Fourteen additional medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open across the state in 2020. Find out more about how to apply here.