Residents of Utah and visitors who intend to use cannabis while there should familiarize themselves with Utah Marijuana laws. Many Utahns are still unaware that Medical Cannabis is legal in Utah, and of those people who are aware, even fewer of them know exactly what is and isn’t legal. At utahmarijuana.org, we work hard to keep you informed, safe, and legal. For the most recent updates to Utah Medical Cannabis law, check out this article where we break it all down. If podcasts are more your thing, listen to this interview with the Director of the Center for Medical Cannabis, Rich Oborn, as he explains the new changes and some of the reasoning behind them.
Brief History of Utah Marijuana Laws
Though recreational use of marijuana remains illegal throughout Utah, no- or low-THC CBD oil is now legal for all, and the medicinal use of marijuana recently became legal for certain conditions.
- 1915: All forms of marijuana banned in Utah
- 2014: Legalization of possession and use of low-THC CBD oil, only for registered patients with intractable epilepsy and a physician’s recommendation
- October 2017: Poll shows 75% of Utah voters support a ballot initiative to legalize Medical Marijuana
- February 2018: Terminally ill patients granted the “right to try” and grow Medical Marijuana plants
- November 2018: Voters passed Proposition 2, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. This is seen as the starting point for Utah marijuana laws today.
- December 2018: Legislature passed HB3001, amending the Utah Medical Cannabis Act with more restrictive provisions; low-THC CBD oil legal for all
- March 26, 2019: Governor Gary Herbert signs S.B. 161, “Medical Cannabis Act Amendments.” The bill makes a number of small changes in the program, temporarily allowing any physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant to recommend Medical Cannabis without needing a Qualified Medical Provider permit. The bill also requires Senate confirmation of Compassionate Use Board members, requires Medical Cannabis to be tested at an inspection facility before it can be sold to a processing company. Furthermore, it prohibits courts from discriminating against Medical Cannabis patients involved in custody cases.
- July 19, 2019: The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announces the eight companies awarded Medical Cannabis cultivation licenses: Dragonfly Greenhouse, Harvest of Utah, Oakbridge Greenhouses, Standard Wellness Utah, True North of Utah, Tryke Companies Utah, Wholesome Ag., and Zion Cultivars.
- September 2019: Governor Herbert signs S.B. 1002, “Medical Cannabis Amendments.” Among other tweaks to Utah’s Medical Cannabis Act, the bill scraps the plans for a state-centralized cannabis delivery system. It also increases the number of cannabis pharmacies allowed in Utah from 12 to 14. The bill made a number of emergency fixes to help Utah’s Medical Cannabis program launch by its March 2020 deadline.
- February 28, 2020: Governor Herbert signs S.B. 121, “Medical Cannabis Amendments.” The bill removes the state’s requirement for “blister” packaging of raw cannabis flower. It also changes the law so drivers will not be punished for having inactive cannabis metabolites in their bodies. Physicians and certified specialists can now recommend cannabis for more patients. Patients with prior cannabis convictions can have those convictions expunged from their records, under certain circumstances.
- March 2, 2020: Utah’s first Medical Cannabis pharmacy, Dragonfly Wellness, opens for business in Salt Lake City. Medical Cannabis sales officially begin in the Beehive State.
- March 24, 2020: Governor Herbert signs HB 425, “Medical Cannabis Modifications,” delaying until the end of 2020 the requirement that patients obtain a Medical Cannabis Card from the Utah Department of Health. Patients can continue using recommendations in the form of a doctor’s letter.
- May 1, 2020: Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary opens for business in South Ogden.
- May 2020: The three open Medical Marijuana dispensaries (or pharmacies) are permitted to dispense through drive-thru windows and home delivery.
- Mid-August 2020: More than 8,200 patients registered in the program
- September 2020: Some Utah cannabis pharmacies begin offering alternatives to cash-only transactions. The “Hypur” system allows patients to use a smartphone app to pay for their Medical Cannabis. The number of Medical Cannabis patients in Utah tops 10,000.
- August 31, 2020: Deseret Wellness opens for business in Provo.
- January 2021: WholesomeCo begins Utah’s first Medical Cannabis deliveries in Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, Weber, Cache, Summit, and Wasatch counties.
- January 1, 2021: “Affirmative defense” letters doctors are no longer accepted as Medical Cannabis documentation. From here on, Medical Cannabis patients must get cards from the Utah Department of Health.
- March 17, 2021: Gov. Spencer Cox signs S.B. 192, “Medical Cannabis Act Amendments.” Among the changes: Possession of out-of-state Medical Cannabis for patients extended through June. Utah Department of Health directed to issue a 15th Medical Cannabis pharmacy license. All Medical Cannabis transactions must be reviewed by a Pharmacy Medical Provider. Medical Cannabis cardholders are prohibited from altering or removing product processor’s labels from Medical Cannabis containers. Qualified Medical Providers are given the option to submit treatment and medication history to the state’s Electronic Verification System, if the QMP feels the information is relevant. Gov. Cox also signs S.B. 170, “Consumer Protection for Cannabis Patients.” Podiatrists can now become Qualified Medical Providers. QMPs who are physician assistants no longer require supervision from a physician who is also a QMP.
- April 2021: Medical Cannabis processors in Utah are no longer allowed to make cannabis products with sugar coatings.
- June 1, 2021: Bloom Medicinals, southern Utah’s first Medical Cannabis pharmacy, opens for business in Cedar City.
- July 2021: Out-of-state cannabis purchases no longer permissible for Utah Medical Cannabis patients. All Medical Cannabis purchases must be made at state-licensed pharmacies. The Utah Department of Health clarifies that a potential Medical Cannabis patient’s first visit with a Qualified Medical Provider must be in-person. Renewal visits via telemedicine systems are permitted. Non-Utah residents can apply for temporary Medical Cannabis cards via the state’s Electronic Verification System.
- August 2021: More than 35,000 patients registered.
- October 2021: More than 37,000 patients registered.
- November 18, 2021: Utah Department of Health reports approximately 40,000 patients are registered in the program. UDOH also announces Dragonfly Wellness has been awarded a license to open Utah’s 15th Medical Cannabis pharmacy. The pharmacy, to be built in Price, will be the first Medical Cannabis pharmacy in southeastern Utah.
- January 3, 2022: Utah’s Medical Cannabis cards are now issued with expiration dates of six months instead of three months. The cost for a six-month renewal remains $15
Covered Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Utah
- HIV or AIDS
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
- Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder currently being treated and monitored by a licensed mental health therapist
- A terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months
- A condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
- A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the United States and is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts
- Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed
- A condition that the Compassionate Use Board approves on an individual, case-by-case basis
Under Utah Marijuana laws, patients can possess:
- A one-month supply based on the dosage amount specified by their doctor or state-licensed pharmacist at a Medical Cannabis pharmacy; or
- Four ounces of flower or 20 grams THC.
Patients cannot cultivate their own Medical Cannabis.
Allowable Forms and Ingestion Methods in Utah
Smoking of cannabis is prohibited, as are edible products, such as candies, cookies, and brownies. Medical Marijuana can be vaped.
The following forms of Medical Marijuana are permitted and available from dispensaries in Utah:
- Concentrated oil
- Liquid suspension
- Transdermal preparation
- Gelatinous cube
- Flower in an opaque, tamper-evident, and tamper-resistant container that contains a quantity that varies no more than 10% from the stated weight at the time of packaging
- Wax or resin
Permitted Prescribers of Medical Marijuana in Utah
Only those medical providers registered with the Utah Department of Health to recommend Medical Cannabis can issue recommendations for Medical Cannabis. To be deemed qualified by the department under Utah marijuana laws, a health care provider must:
- Be licensed in Utah
- Be a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant
- Complete appropriate continuing medical education courses
- Have authority to prescribe Schedule II drugs
- Pay a fee of $300
Process for Legally Obtaining Medical Marijuana
Patients must follow these steps to obtain a Medical Cannabis Card:
- The patient must be a Utah resident with at least one qualifying condition (see above).
- The patient must meet in-person with a qualified medical professional (see above).
- The medical provider then certifies the patient’s eligibility for a Medical Cannabis Card online.
- Patient pays a $15 application fee.
- The Utah Department of Health will approve or deny the application within 15 days.
- When approved, the patient can use the card to purchase at any of the authorized Medical Marijuana pharmacies in Utah.
- The initial card expires in six months. The patient and provider must renew online in order for the patient to continue in the Medical Cannabis program. Subsequent renewals will be valid for six months or a year.
Penalties for Violating Utah Marijuana Laws
Possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor at a minimum unless the possessor is a Medical Marijuana patient. Any sale of marijuana outside of one of the authorized Medical Marijuana dispensaries/pharmacies is a felony.
*updated regularly for accuracy*