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Utah medical cannabis dispensary opens drive-thru to help high-risk patients

Posted at 5:48 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 19:48:23-04

SOUTH OGDEN, Utah — Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary always had plans for a drive-thru at their medical cannabis dispensary. But COVID-19 sped it up.

"We wanted to escalate the time frame on that drive through so people considered high risk have a way of getting their medication without having to come in through the pharmacy," said Tim Pearl.

On Tuesday, the South Ogden medical cannabis pharmacy began taking patients at the drive-thru. The first patient was Nicole McGarry, who suffers from gastroparesis.

"I started on cannabis edibles a year ago that put me in nearly a full remission and recovery," she told FOX 13.

McGarry said she worries about having to go out in public, given her many medical conditions.

"Of course, we have COVID and with the COVID going on, it puts me at serious risk when I go out to the public. So I have to wear these fabulous things," she said, holding up a face mask. "And keep my distance. So having the drive-thru open is so beneficial to me and other patients. We need that option to have contactless service so we’re not putting ourselves at risk."

Utah legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and the state has been working to set up a highly regulated system. Of the 14 licensed dispensaries, only three have opened. The law passed by the legislature (which overrode the voter-approved ballot initiative) allows for drive-thru service with requirements like video surveillance and identification. The law also allows for home delivery, which dispensaries have expressed an interest in.

Utah's Department of Health told FOX 13 on Tuesday that 4,143 people have been approved as cannabis card holders (including 20 minors) and 323 medical providers certified.