Utah's marijuana market is to open in March, according to the state's Department of Health. According to a report from the Associated Press, quoting department officials, the market is to begin small before expanding. Only one or two dispensaries are to be open in the upcoming phase of legalization.

The March timeline is due to the fact that Utah residents wishing to be permitted to buy medical cannabis will need state-issued patient cards allowing them to do so. Cards can only come from doctor recommendations; according to the department, the number of medical professionals trained and willing to make such prescriptions is small at the moment.

Marijuana leaf with stethoscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

After this introductory phase, more dispensaries should open their doors. The department plans to allow eight of them to begin selling product by July. No particular dispensaries or locations were specified.

Utah residents voted the sale and consumption of medical cannabis into law in a ballot initiative in November 2018. Recreational cannabis remains illegal. All told, in the U.S., 33 states permit medical marijuana, with only 11 allowing the recreational variety.

Recently, Utah awarded 14 dispensary permits divided among four geographic regions in the state. One winner was Curaleaf (OTC:CURLF), which will build out a dispensary in the City of Lindon not far from the key Utah municipalities of Salt Lake City and Provo. It is unknown at this time whether Curaleaf's store will be among the first ones to be open in the coming months.

Curaleaf has not yet publicly commented on the latest developments in Utah. On Thursday, the well-known marijuana stock closed up 6% higher on the day.

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