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.
While Utah does not currently have a comprehensive medical marijuana law in place, activity among lawmakers over the past two years indicates new policy could be arriving soon. Senate Bill 259, a comprehensive medical marijuana bill, fell just one vote shy of Senate approval in early 2015. Two similar bills were again introduced in the Utah Legislature in 2016. Despite none of the bills passing, close votes and repeated efforts by lawmakers suggest that there is significant support for medical marijuana in the state legislature, and advocates are confident that reform is coming.
CBD from Hemp Oil in Utah
Under federal law, the consumption of CBD hemp oil is legal. CBD hemp oil falls under the same importation and commerce laws as other hemp products and therefore it is legal to import and purchase as a dietary supplement.
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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