Another domino has fallen: Medical marijuana sales in Utah started on Monday, with the opening of the state's first dispensary. Dragonfly Wellness, located in the state's capital and largest municipality, Salt Lake City, opened its doors and sold product to become Utah's first legal marijuana retailer.
The Dragonfly Wellness outlet is the first of 14 dispensaries approved by the state in the opening stage of legalization. These were dispersed among four geographic regions.
Nearly all are operated by small, privately held businesses; two exceptions are Curaleaf (OTC:CURLF) and Columbia Care (OTC:CCHWF). The companies will operate one dispensary apiece in Region 3, which roughly covers the southeastern part of the state. Curaleaf's will be located in the city of Linden, while Columbia Care's is to care for its patients in Springville. Both municipalities are on Utah Lake, just south of Salt Lake City.
The Utah Medical Cannabis Act passed into law in late 2018 through a ballot initiative that the state legislature later modified. Following that, it took some time for the state to award licenses to dispensary operators. Recreational marijuana sale and use in Utah remains illegal, unlike in neighboring Nevada and Colorado.
At the moment, the customer base for Dragonfly Wellness and peer marijuana companies is extremely limited, as the state has only recently started granting medical marijuana cards to qualifying patients. According to a report from Salt Lake City-based Fox 13, only 14 people had been approved for such permits as of Monday.
Neither Curaleaf nor Columbia Care made any official comment on the launch of Utah's marijuana market. Both stocks fell slightly in price on Monday.