CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah’s first medical marijuana pharmacy is scheduled to open its doors Tuesday.
Bloom Medicinals, located at 301 S. Main St. in the building formerly occupied by Das Nest restaurant, is scheduled to be open from 3-5 p.m. on its first day of operation, company officials said.
The store’s normal operating hours, which will start Wednesday, will be from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Registered pharmacist Sheb Davie, who will be in charge of store operations, told Cedar City News that he brings 12 years of experience in retail pharmacy to the position, including 10 years as a pharmacy manager. He will be joined on-site by two licensed technicians called agents, while general manager Blake Smith will oversee operations from Salt Lake City.
The Cedar City store will be part of a tightly regulated group of 14 dispensing pharmacies throughout the state, linked via a computer system that connects retail outlets with growers and processors. Rollout of the statewide network has been underway since the Utah Legislature voted to legalize medical marijuana by passing the Utah Medical Cannabis Act in December 2018.
“Legally, everything that is sold in Utah must be locally grown and locally processed,” Davie noted.
Utah law does not permit the product to be smoked, but according to a Utah Department of Health FAQ document: “Patients may purchase a medical cannabis device that warms cannabis material into a vapor without the use of a flame and delivers cannabis to an individual’s respiratory system (such as an electric dabbing rig). Although smoking of medical cannabis is prohibited, vaping is legal.”
Along these lines, Bloom Medicinals will be offering cannabis flower, tinctures, concentrates, topicals (lotions and balms), edibles (flavored gummies or gelatinous cubes) and vape cartridges.
Also strictly regulated by the state are the amounts that a patient may obtain over a 30-day period, which are 20 grams of concentrated THC or 113 grams of total flower, Davie said.
Additionally, customers will not be allowed to touch any of the products until after they’ve purchased them, with cash being the only accepted form of payment, Davie said. The pharmacy does have an ATM available inside the showroom.
Bloom Medicinals, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is owned and operated by the Hollander Family, which has run various highly regulated health care businesses for five decades, according to Bill Honore, the company’s head of acquisitions, business development and community relations.
Since launching its first marijuana dispensary in Illinois in 2014, Bloom now operates such dispensaries in six states, with Utah’s first location being Cedar City.
Honore said Bloom’s stellar regulatory background is part of the reason the Utah Department of Health awarded Bloom one of the 14 coveted statewide dispensary licenses, adding that Cedar City was chosen for its geographic advantage, as it is conveniently located in the middle of an approximately 300-mile gap between currently available dispensaries in Mesquite, Nevada, and Provo.
“We thought Cedar City was a very good option for us, both for the local community and the visitors,” Honore said, adding that the location also allows the company to serve a wider range of rural patients.
“We have had to overcome a variety of zoning, logistical and political obstacles to arrive at this point,” he said, adding that the company officials are grateful for the support they’ve received from city officials and staff. “It was a team and community effort to bring this medicine to Cedar City.”
Honore said the process included a thorough vetting of the company’s security and safety protocols by the Cedar City Police Department.
Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams confirmed that he and his department have been working with Bloom officials over the past several months.
“They have been articulate in ensuring all security measures have been considered and implemented,” Adams told Cedar City News. “With the conversations I have had, I don’t have any public safety concerns with the new organization opening up within our community.”
Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards also agreed that the facility has been “located and developed in accordance with standards set by the state of Utah.”
“In Utah these facilities may only dispense marijuana to those with a valid prescription,” the mayor said. “Utah is not like neighboring states where marijuana is available for recreational uses.”
In order to obtain any products from the pharmacy, customers must possess a valid medical marijuana card and have a prescription from a qualified medical practitioner, Davie noted, adding that he will personally consult with each customer during their initial visit.
“If they already have their card, I’ve got a private consultation area back in our showroom.”
Davie added that although those who don’t have a medical card won’t be able to get past the front area, they will be able to use another consultation room attached to the lobby.
He extended an invitation for patients and prospective customers to visit the new facility.
“Come in and see. We’re not judgmental. We’re here to improve quality of life,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for. Yes, the product we have, like many others, can do a lot of other things. But we’re here to medically help people that need a better quality of life. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
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