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What Happens Now? Medical industry talks future of marijuana

FILE - This Sept. 30, 2016, file photo shows a marijuana bud before harvesting at a rural area near Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Now that a medical cannabis law has passed in Utah, doctors and pharmacists have to work on appropriate dosing and see what works.

Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber says they will be looking to other states who have started similar programs.

“Not just the marijuana industry saying ‘Hey, we want to sell this,’ but what is appropriate. We will be trying to guide and lead on this in an appropriate way,” she said.

There will be no home growing, no edibles, a smaller number of dispensaries, and a requirement that dispensaries employ pharmacists who recommend dosages.

McOmber says it’s not a silver bullet.

“It will possibly be another tool for some things. Maybe. Just realize that it hasn’t cured anything in all the time it has been around,” she said. “It’s going to be something that will be used as another tool in the toolbox, if appropriate.”

Some of the qualified conditions that can be treated with cannabis include HIV, cancer, PTSD, Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Officials say medical marijuana cards and dispensaries won’t be available until sometime next year. But patients who fall under these conditions can use medical cannabis now under what’s legally called an affirmative defense, meaning they don’t have to fear prosecution.

McOmber said doctors will prescribe it only if they feel it could help.

“They are going too have to be responsible in saying that. There’s going to be some standard of care here, there’s going to be follow up, there’s going to be appropriate care,” she said.