Despite its conservative background, the state of Utah has taken encouraging steps toward the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. Among lawmakers, there has been little support for medical marijuana reform, however.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in Utah
Possession of marijuana in Utah is illegal. Persons caught with up to a pound of marijuana face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Possession of more than a pound of marijuana is a felony, which can result in up to 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. The state of Utah does not have conditional release policies, which give first time offenders in other states a reprieve, or mandatory minimums in place.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Utah
As of now Utah has in place a hemp CBD-extract only medical cannabis law. This extremely limited and highly restrictive medical cannabis law, enacted on July 1, 2014, only applies to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy who are certified for treatment by a neurologist. Under the law, qualified patients can legally access cannabis extracts that contain less than 0.3% THC and 15% or more CBD by weight. Unfortunately, the law provides no direction for how the cannabis oil should be obtained, as it’s still illegal to produce in the state. While this law does bring relief to a small segment of potential medical marijuana users, a much greater population is still looking for relief.
In 2018, the Utah State Legislature approved a series of “right to try” medical marijuana laws that will allow patients with less than six months to live to legally obtain and consume medical-grade marijuana. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will grow the cannabis, likely with the assistance of a third-party vendor, and handle its distribution. Officials are still finalizing the program’s rules.
Additionally, Utah voters will have the opportunity to vote on a medical marijuana ballot initiative in November 2018. Utah Proposition 2, if approved, would allow patients diagnosed with autism, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, cachexia, ulcerative colitis, chronic pain, and rare conditions to have access to cannabis oils, edibles, topicals, and vaporizing materials. Patients would need to obtain a written recommendation from a doctor before receiving a medical marijuana card.
CBD from Hemp Oil in Utah
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Hemp in Utah
The cultivation of cannabis for personal or medical use remains illegal in Utah.
In 2014, the state did pass a bill that allows for the state’s Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The program allows licensed growers to cultivate cannabis containing no more than 0.3% THC.
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