Though it is one of the most socially conservative states in the U.S., Utah has passed two distinct medicinal cannabis laws. The first allowed MDs, DOs, APRNs, and physician assistants who are licensed to prescribe a controlled substance to recommend cannabis extracts with THC concentrations below 0.3% to patients with intractable epilepsy and individuals with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live. This law has since been superseded after Utahans voted in favor of Proposition 2 in 2018, which expanded the state’s medical cannabis program.
The resultant legislation, HB3001, created a state program that came online in 2020 and will become fully operational in 2021. Once operational, it will allow patients over the age of 18 (though patients under the age of 21 must have their application approved by the Compassionate Use Board) to acquire a card authorizing them to purchase cannabis from a medical cannabis pharmacy. Within any 28-day period, these pharmacies may only sell either an amount sufficient to provide 30 days of treatment to a patient or a processed form of cannabis, excluding anything resembling candy, containing no more than 20 g of THC, whichever is less. Under the law, smokable forms of cannabis and home cultivation remain illegal.
Prior to the time the program comes online, patients will be offered an affirmative defense if they have been recommended cannabis by a physician.
To be considered for the program, patients must have one of the following qualifying conditions:
• Alzheimer’s disease
• ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
• Crohn’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Persistent and severe muscle spasms
• Persistent nausea
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Severe pain
• Terminal illnesses when the patient has less than 6 months to live
Additionally, patients in hospice are also eligible to enroll in the program, as are patients approved by the Compassionate Use Board and patients suffering from some diseases that affect less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S.
Utah does not and does not intend to have a reciprocity program to accommodate medical marijuana patients from out of state.
MDs, DOs, APRNs, and physician assistants who are licensed in the state of Utah may receive approval from the Department of Health to recommend cannabis, but must first register through an electronic verification system here: https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/providers/become-a-qualified-medical-provider/.
For more information on the program, please visit the Utah Medical Cannabis Program website: https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/.
The recreational use of cannabis that is classified as marijuana (containing a concentration of THC above 0.3%) is prohibited for individuals who are not enrolled in the state’s cannabis program. Possession of under 1 lb is a misdemeanor offense. For possession of less than 1 oz, the punishment is a maximum of 6 months of incarceration and a fine of $1,000. For the possession of 1 oz or more, but less than 1 lb, the punishment is a maximum of 1 year of incarceration and a fine of $2,500. Possession of between 1-100 lbs is a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years. Possession of over 100 lbs is punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 and a period of imprisonment between 1-15 years.
Cultivation of marijuana is illegal. Punishment is based on the total weight of the plants.