Despite its conservative background, the voters of Utah embraced the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes by approving Proposition 2 in November 2018. The move prompted the Utah Legislature to quickly craft and pass a more restrictive bill less than a month later.
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.
In April 2019, Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law House Bill 431, which creates a process for the automatic expungement and deletion of certain criminal convictions, including misdemeanor convictions for the possession of marijuana. The new law takes effect May 1, 2020.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Utah
The Utah Legislature in a one-day special session on December 3, 2018 passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act (House Bill 3001). Signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert, the law replaced Proposition 2, the medical marijuana ballot initiative approved by state voters just one month earlier. In the lead-up to the election, Utah lawmakers, officials with the Mormon Church and the campaign group responsible for Proposition 2 agreed to craft compromise legislation that imposes more restrictions.
The new law reduces medical marijuana pharmacies to seven statewide and prohibits edibles besides gelatin cubes. Now cannabis will only be available in the form of a tablet or capsule, oil, topical lotion, or a gelatinous cube. Home cultivation is also no longer allowed.
Under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, doctor’s can recommend cannabis to patients diagnosed with the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
- HIV or AIDS
- A condition resulting in hospice care
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) or persistent muscle spasms
- Nausea (persistent, not connected to pregnancy)
- Pain (lasting longer than two weeks and only if it is not managed by 1) a non-opioid medication, or 2) physical intervention like chiropractic care)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A rare condition or disease that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States
- Terminal illness with less than six months life expectancy
Additionally, any patients approved by the Compassionate Use Board that has a condition not already covered by the list can qualify.
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 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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