Cannabis has become a major cash crop in the United States owing to its legalization and increasing popularity. With the ever-growing demand for cannabis and other products derived from it, the cannabis industry has created thousands of employment and generated billions of dollars in revenue. According to a report by New Frontier Data, the legal marijuana market in the United States was valued at $17.5 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach up to $41.5 billion by 2025.
MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM IN UTAH
In addition to the state of Utah, the eight growers who cultivate it and those who sell it have turned medical cannabis into a significant cash crop. The cannabis sector made more money in 2022 ($118,760,937) than any other state-grown crop.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s public information representative, Bailee Woolstenhulme, claimed that the state’s cannabis program is effectively run and strictly controlled.
The number of people taking medical marijuana has increased this year, according to her. About double as many people as we had last year currently hold medicinal cannabis cards, totaling 61,991, she added.
As the Medical Cannabis Program enters its fourth year of operation, the Department of Health and Human Services in Utah and the eight licensed cannabis growers continue to collaborate closely with each other and their 11 various locations. To guarantee that Utah’s medical cannabis customers have access to a high-quality and safe product, there are also 14 processors. The growers are doing well because of the regulation the department has on the grower side of things, according to Woolstenhulme. The actual amount of cannabis they produced in 2022 was 111,800 pounds, compared to the 98,632 pounds that had been predicted.
Officials believe that overall, the program is succeeding, though there are a few issues they are still working out.
They are attempting to iron out some of those problems, but patient numbers are rising, and feedback from clients indicates that they are satisfied with the care they are receiving, according to Woolstenhulme. To prevent an oversupply of the market, the state limits the number of producers who can produce the crop.
CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES IN UTAH’S CANNABIS MARKET
The county closest to Cache County, Box Elder, has four medical marijuana fields. One of the farm owners agreed to be interviewed but was quite protective of his knowledge.
The illicit market component of the goods still exists, he stated, adding that it is also a very profitable product. The farmer also stated that he is cautious not to let too much more people know about them than they have to since they don’t want their farm to receive much exposure. It is not a secret. The state mandates our need for a security system. He added.
The farm’s owner said he is confident about the market’s future and is in a strong position. Our objective is to provide the finest quality care to as many patients as we can for the least amount of money, he stated. Prices have decreased due to cutting back on staff and handling labor-intensive tasks on our own.
Because of the decreased cost of production, the prices of some products have plummeted by as much as 40%, and those of other products are also declining.
The farmer stated, “We have grown all we can right now. He claimed their license was obtained before any other cannabis growers in Utah. Cannabis that is ordered via mail is starting to appear on the market.
“We have hundreds of years of experience growing flowers on our operations side,” the farmer claimed. We see marijuana as merely another type of flower. The farm is also the only Utah-based cannabis farm not affiliated with any other cannabis farm.
He stated, “We are assisting those who are suffering. We started cultivating marijuana because “my mom has a lot of health difficulties, and cannabis is making her life better.” he added.
People have access to a wide range of dosage options, he noted. The extent of a person’s disability is a major factor. For those who require them, we have really large doses, and for those under 13, we have doses that are only 5 milligrams.
When people have trouble sleeping, they occasionally turn to cannabis. On an individual basis, it has been shown to aid numerous medical conditions.
THE STATE’S ACTION ON CANNABIS
Almost 1.4 million goods, including vape carts, concentrates, flower, and gelatinous cubes, were made in Utah by 14 processors. These products were all sent to pharmacies so that customers could purchase them. The medical cannabis inspectors of UDAF regularly inspect all manufacturing facilities
At all pharmacies that sell medical cannabis, the UDAF Medical Cannabis Compliance Specialists inspect the crop, the processor, the lab, and the labels.
To verify that all laws and regulations are being upheld, the state closely collaborates with proprietors while auditing production records and reviewing on-site surveillance footage.
While the medical cannabis program in Utah seems to be thriving, there are still concerns about the illegal market. The farm owner highlighted the importance of continued regulation and oversight to ensure that only safe and legal products are sold to patients. There is also an emphasis on the need for ongoing education and public awareness efforts to discourage people from purchasing cannabis illegally.
One other challenge facing the cannabis industry in Utah is the limited number of producers allowed to grow the crop. While this is intended to prevent oversupply and maintain quality control, it can also limit patient access and increase prices. As the program continues to evolve, officials may need to revisit these restrictions and consider expanding the number of producers or allowing home cultivation to meet growing demand. However, any changes must be made carefully to ensure that patient safety and quality standards are maintained.
With a well-regulated medical cannabis program and a growing number of patients, medical cannabis has become a major cash crop in the state. While there are still concerns about the illegal market and limited producer licenses, ongoing regulation, and oversight efforts are crucial to ensure that safe and legal products are being sold to patients.