Tyler Kirschbaun was thrilled when Utah voters gave the green light on Proposition 2 — the Medical Marijuana Initiative.
After months of battles over the initiative in the state legislature, Kirschbaun was thrilled when North Logan received the state’s second medical cannabis pharmacy.
Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary opened April 1 at 2150 North Main St with a “soft opening.”
To celebrate such drastic news in Utah, the director wanted a “grand opening.”
But after the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the country and Gov. Gary Herbert issued a “stay home, stay safe” directive asking people to stay home and not gather in groups of more than 10 people, Perfect Earth Director of Operations Tim Pearl said “this works.”
Pearl said the opening came after months of delays and awaited excitement for Utah patients.
“People have been waiting for this to open for a long time,” he said. “We’ve had to push back a few times because of the virus.”
Kirschbaun said the pharmacy is beneficial to him because he suffers from chronic pain and cannot take opioids due to a fatty liver.
“I don’t like pills,” he said. “It’s an alternative to opioids, it’s not habit forming and it’s natural.”
Utah has strict regulations on who can obtain medical marijuana and how they can obtain it, but Pearl said the pharmacy has had a smooth opening thus far.
“These aren’t budtenders, these are pharmacy agents,” he said, referencing the colloquial name for retail workers at cannabis dispensaries.
“It’s treated a lot like a pharmacy you’d find in a grocery store,” he added. “We have to label things, everything is very controlled through the state.”
Sam Warner, a pharmacist at Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary, believes medical cannabis will change the way Utahns think about drug addiction, medication and illness.
“It’s just another safer option for people,” Warner said. “I see it as for people who are struggling with alcoholism or addicted to opiates, it’s something for them to try and use instead.”
Before moving to Utah and working in the medical cannabis industry, Warner worked as a pharmacist in Arizona, where he learned about other psychoactive medications.
“The cool thing about (cannabis) is nobody fully understands it yet,” he said. “It was kind of cool to have a medication I’ve never learned about before and I just was able to basically try it out on my own.”
Similar to how medications are treated in mainstream pharmacies, Warner’s job as a cannabis pharmacist is to ensure patients know how to use their medication safely and effectively.
“We meet with each patient before they can buy anything,” he said. “Patients will come in and we’ll discuss what they’ve tried in the past and then transition them to the medical part, if they’ve never tried it we’ll go over some safety stuff.”
“Patients will come in and we’ll discuss what they’ve tried in the past, if they’ve never tried it we’ll go over some safety stuff. “Utah requires medical cannabis patients to obtain a letter documenting their qualifying condition from a physician before they can obtain a medical cannabis card.
Up until Dec. 31, 2020, patients can use a letter from their physician as documentation in pharmacies.
Beginning in 2021, patients will need to obtain a medical cannabis card from a medical provider registered with the Utah Department of Health in order to obtain medical cannabis.