The cannabis laws in Utah are quite limiting and recreational use of cannabis is still not allowed in this state Even for recreational users the regulations are numerous and quite strict. The state of Utah has had a long history with cannabis regulation and changes, but cannabis hasn’t been legalized even for medical purposes until recently.
We will take a look at the cannabis laws in Utah, how they changed over the years and what are the penalties for illegal possession.
History of Cannabis Laws in Utah
The cannabis laws in Utah remains as one of the most limiting laws all over the states even when medical marijuana is in question. It was only in November of last year when the law was changed to allow patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. By passing the Proposition 2, qualifying patients got the right to buy and consume marijuana for medical purposes and in certain cases cultivate up to 6 plants at home for medical purposes l.
The cannabis laws in Utah require state-licensed testing laboratories to be set up in order to check if the samples are fit to be placed on the market for medical users. This law also plans the opening of dispensaries for qualifying patients that will allow the sale of medical marijuana. However, the cannabis laws in Utah have put limits in certain product and the program is not going to be live until 2020 until the systems are implemented.
The bill to legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients was passed on 3rd December 2018 and its drafting began in October of the same year. The regulation imposes stricter regulations on who can qualify both as a patient and a caregiver but allows employment protection if people get approved for the medical marijuana program of the state.
Medical marijuana identity cards are issued by the Utah Department of Health, a regulatory body which is also responsible for giving licenses to doctors so they will be able to recommend medical marijuana to patients and also giving out licenses to dispensaries. The cultivation and processing of medical cannabis according to the cannabis laws in Utah are overseen by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Where Can You Buy Cannabis in Utah?
Medical marijuana in Utah can only be purchased in state-recognized dispensaries by patients who are over the age of 18, their parents if they are minors or their designated caregivers. The cannabis laws in Utah make it mandatory for the parents of minors and the caregivers to also hold a valid medical marijuana identification card.
The purchase and consumption of medical marijuana are strictly prohibited in Utah.
Prior to this bill, in the state of Utah, even hemp was not legal. In March 2014, HB 105 was signed which allowed the growth of industrial hemp for agriculture and research purposes CBD oil with a low THC content was legalized for severe cases of epilepsy. The same regulation allowed terminally ill patients to try marijuana as an alternative treatment in 2018.
When it comes to recreational use, the regulations are very strict and if caught in possession of even small amounts of cannabis the consequences can be huge.
Where Can You Consume Cannabis in Utah?
The cannabis laws in Utah state that medical users of marijuana are not allowed to consume it in a public place, unless if it is a medical emergency that will justify the use. However, in this state, it is illegal to smoke marijuana. Medical users are only allowed to consume marijuana as a capsule, a gelatine cube, oil, patches, liquid or sublingual pill. Only in certain cases, the patient can consume marijuana in the form of resin or wax.
Marijuana consumption needs to be done in a private place. Marijuana usage is not allowed in a vehicle and patients cannot drive under the influence of cannabis.
Possession Limits in Utah
If patients carry cannabis product with them outside of their home, they need to make sure that they have valid proof of their status as a medical user according to the cannabis laws in Utah. The possession limits in this state for medical users are set to 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis. The THC limit in Utah is set at 20 grams per 113 grams of raw marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Utah via Cannabis News Box
Growing Cannabis At Home
According to Proposition 2, home cultivation for medical patients was allowed. However, the new Medical Cannabis Act no longer allows that. Patients are prohibited from growing marijuana and they must get it from licensed dispensaries, which currently are not in place yet.
How To Register as a Medical Marijuana User?
The registration process for becoming a medical user of marijuana is very demanding in accordance to the cannabis laws in Utah. In order to apply, you need a certified doctor’s recommendation and you must send the application electronically while you are at your doctor’s office. If the application is approved, the person will receive a medical marijuana identification card which is valid for only 30 days. After it is renewed, its validity goes up to 60 days and after the second renewal, the validity can go up to 6 months.
CBD oil consumption is also illegal in Utah unless you are registered for a hemp extract registration card. This card will allow the person to purchase CBD oil and in order to qualify, the individual must be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. The application for a hemp extract registration card must be submitted in person or by mail.
To support the application, the person would need a neurologist’s certification to confirm that the patient is suffering from intractable epilepsy, as well as a patient evaluation record. Proof of identity and residency must also be sent together with the application. The application fee is $200 and the renewals cost $50. If the card is not renewed within 120 days of the expiration, the fees go up to $200.
In cases where the patient is minor, the parents or the legal guardians will also need to provide a certified copy of the court order to prove guardianship.
Cannabis laws Utah via Fox13
As qualifying conditions are considered the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to pregnancy
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy, or debilitating seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months
- A condition resulting in the individuals receiving hospice care
- A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the United States
Caregivers also need to register for a card according to the cannabis laws in Utah. the caregiver must be at least 21 years of age, a resident of Utah and to have a clear criminal record of drug-related charges and recent felonies. They need to be assigned as caregivers in the application process of the patient. The state will do a background check of the caregiver and if they pass, they will be issued with a medical marijuana identity card that will be valid for the same person as the patient’s card. When the patient renews their card, the caregiver’s card is renewed automatically.
However, at the moment the new regulations are still not in place and according to the cannabis laws in Utah, only terminally ill patients who are not expected to live for more than 6 months are allowed to purchase cannabis products.
The medical marijuana card is issued by the state of Utah and citizens from other states are not allowed to buy medical marijuana products even if they are medical marijuana identification card holders from a different state.
State of Utah via MG Retailer
Cannabis Testing in Utah
At the moment, the state is establishing cannabis labs which will test and evaluate the samples before they are sold to medical users. The state accepts application form and it will be open until 1st March 2020. Pharmacies that are looking to sell cannabis products will receive their license within 90 days of application if the process was successful.
As for operators, according to the cannabis laws in Utah, they must show an operating plan. they would also need to show a financial statement that they have a minimum of $250.000 in liquid assets. For testing labs and processing facilities, the liquid asset requirement is set at $50.000.
The cannabis laws in Utah also limit the number of medical marijuana pharmacies that can be opened – there can only be 7 and one additional if needed if they do not establish a state central fill medical cannabis pharmacy by 1st January 2020.
The cannabis cultivation licenses are limited to 10 on a state level, with the possibility to give out 5 more after 1st January 2020 if needed.
Home cultivation will not be allowed according to the cannabis laws in Utah even after 1st January 2020.
Cannabis Penalties in Utah
According to the cannabis laws in Utah, marijuana possession is regarded as a very serious offense and even the smallest amount can send you to jail. For example, if caught in possession with less than 1 ounce of cannabis, you are facing 6 months in jail and a fine of $1000. For possession between 1 ounce and 1 point, the punishment is set to a year in prison and $2500 in fines. If caught possessing over 1 pound of cannabis but less than 100 pounds, you will need to pay a fine of $5000 and serve 5 years in prison. For possession of more than 100 pounds, the jails sentence could be up to 15 years and the fine is set at $10.000.
Medical Cannabis Utah via High Times
Sale of marijuana in Utah is a serious crime. Regardless of the amount of cannabis the person is caught in possession with the intention to sell, the penalties according to the cannabis laws in Utah are 5 years in prison and $5000 in fines and it is regarded as a felony. The penalties can dramatically increase if the person in question is selling the cannabis within 1000 feet away from a school or another designated public area.
If the person is caught in possession of cannabis in no larger quantity than an ounce, the first offense is classified as misdemeanor class B. However, if the offense is repeated, the next conviction will be treated as a misdemeanor of class A.
Cultivation and possession of cannabis concentrates are treated as possession charges and they are subject to the same incarceration terms and fines. All cannabis-related charges are a subject to driver’s license suspension of 6 months.
A person can also be charged with paraphernalia yet this is classified as a misdemeanor in most of the cases. For possession of paraphernalia, the sentence can be up to 6 months of prison time and a $1000 fine. For selling such equipment, the person can face up to 1 year in prison and $2500 in fines. If a person is a minor or if a person is caught selling paraphernalia to a minor, then this offense is treated as a felony and the punishments are 5 years in prison and $5000 in fines.
The cannabis laws in Utah are one of the strictest in the United States of America. There is no tolerance for minor offenses of recreational users. Even for medical users, the policies are highly restrictive, considering the fact that the medical marijuana identification card is initially valid for only 30 days and that only patients who have been left with no more than 6 months to live can get access to marijuana. These strict regulations can be very damaging to people in need, taking into consideration that in order to qualify as a medical user there is a demanding process in place.