Utah medical marijuana firms could suffer as doctors hold off recommendations

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Some of Utah’s biggest health-care providers are hesitant to recommend medical cannabis to qualified patients – a development that could cause the market to grow more slowly.

Intermountain Healthcare, the state’s largest provider with 23 hospitals and 170 clinics in its system, has told its physicians to hold off recommending medical marijuana until guidelines are developed, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

University of Utah Health holds a similar position, and a spokeswoman told the newspaper that the guidelines might not be completed for several months.

As has been the case in other MMJ states, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana because it’s illegal under federal law.

However, some doctors are active in recommending medical marijuana, according to the Tribune.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, signed a compromise MMJ bill into law in early December.

The law allows only up to seven pharmacies statewide. A less restrictive initiative approved by voters in November would have allowed 20.

It’s envisioned that the private system will be supplemented by a state-owned central pharmacy that will distribute products to local health departments for patient pickup.