Is weed legal in Utah?
In Utah, medical cannabis is available to patients with qualifying conditions. Adult-use, or recreational, cannabis remains illegal, and possession of small amounts may result in criminal penalties.
On Nov. 6, 2018, Utah voters approved Proposition 2, allowing patients to obtain and use medical marijuana and state-licensed facilities to grow, process, test, or sell cannabis for medicinal purposes.
In the weeks leading to Election Day, the fervor generated by Proposition 2 Utah prompted Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Legislature, and proposition proponents and opponents — including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest religious community in the state — to craft a compromise cannabis law regardless of the outcome of the vote.
The compromise bill called for relaxing medical cannabis card renewal requirements, tightening qualifications for who could be a caregiver or guardian, offering employment protections for patients, and regulating how medical marijuana could be consumed. The legislature passed the compromise bill Dec. 3 2018, and Herbert signed it the same day. It was HB 3001, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
Utah has frequently tweaked its medical marijuana laws to loosen some restrictions and tighten others. For example, HB 195, signed in 2018, allowed terminally ill patients to try medicinal marijuana. HB 121, signed in 2020, allowed for the expungement of some cannabis-related convictions and required seed-to-sale tracking, among other things. HB 425, also signed in 2020, waived some ID card requirements to make it easier for patients to purchase medical marijuana during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) oversees the state’s medical marijuana program.
Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Utah?
Patients 18 and older, a parent or legal guardian of a minor patient, and designated caregivers may purchase medical cannabis from a state-approved pharmacy. Each purchaser must have a medical cannabis card. All cards for patients younger than 21 must be approved by Utah’s Compassionate Use Board.
Cardholders can purchase up to 112 grams (3.95 ounces) of cannabis with up to 19 grams (0.67 ounces) of total THC within a 30-day period.
Where is it safe to consume cannabis in Utah?
Patients must consume their marijuana in private unless it’s a medical emergency. They can’t smoke cannabis anywhere or consume it while driving a vehicle.
In Utah, medical marijuana may be taken as a tablet, capsule, concentrated oil, liquid suspension, skin patch, or a gelatin cube that can be chewed or dissolved. The state also allows the vaping of flower, resin, or wax as well as the purchasing of vaporizers and vape pens. The use of flames, like blowtorches, is prohibited.
Possession limits in Utah
Medical cannabis cardholders can possess up to 112 grams (3.95 ounces) of cannabis within a 30-day period. When transporting or possessing marijuana outside the home, a patient or caregiver must carry their state-issued medical cannabis card.
For those without state-issued medical cannabis cards, possession of less than 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. A second conviction is a class A misdemeanor, while a third or subsequent conviction could result in a third-degree felony.
Is home cultivation allowed in Utah?
Home cultivation is not permitted in Utah.
Medical marijuana registry
The state’s Department of Health oversees the electronic verification system or registry, which maintains a list of patients, caregivers, medical care providers, and pharmacies.
Medical conditions qualifying patients for cannabis under the Utah Medical Cannabis Program include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
- Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Terminal illness or condition resulting in hospice care
- A rare condition or disease that has not responded to conventional medications
- Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not managed by conventional medications
For conditions that aren’t on the list, patients can petition the Compassionate Use Board on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants must be Utah residents and at least 18 years old or have a parent or guardian 18 or older. Patients younger than 21 will need to have their application approved by the Compassionate Use Board. With a doctor’s recommendation, a patient can assign up to two people as caregivers to help them obtain and/or administer their cannabis. Patients can apply for a medical cannabis card on the Department of Health’s website.
The registration process is as follows:
- Register on the electronic verification system (EVS)
- Fill out an application for a card and wait for physician approval
- Pay the $15 registration fee
The Utah Department of Health has up to 15 days to approve or deny the application of adults 21 and older; minor applications can take up to 90 days.
Once the application is approved, patients can return to the portal and print their card or save it to their phone. The initial card is valid for 90 days; subsequent renewals last six months. Patients can also add a caregiver and track their cannabis purchases using the EVS.
Caregivers in Utah
Up to two people may buy, possess, and administer medical cannabis for a patient who needs assistance. Caregivers may assist up to two patients.
Caregivers need to:
- Register on the electronic verification system (EVS) and create an account before or after the patient designates them as a caregiver
- Fill out the application
- Pay $68.25 for a primary patient, $15 for a secondary one
- Submit information for a background check
The Utah Department of Health has up to 15 days to approve or deny the application once the background check is complete. After the application is approved, caregivers can return to the portal and print their card or save it to their phone. The initial card is valid for 90 days; subsequent renewals last six months.
Out-of-state visitors who have one of Utah’s qualifying conditions can possess and use medical cannabis in the consumption methods and dosages that meet Utah’s legal restrictions. New residents are allowed to possess medical cannabis from out of state for 45 days. To purchase cannabis in Utah, they need to apply for a medical cannabis card.
Cannabis and cannabis products must be tested for:
- Cannabinoid content (potency)
- Foreign matter
- Heavy metals
- Moisture content
Frequently Asked Questions
Medical marijuana patients are allowed to vape flower, resin, or wax products purchased from a state-licensed pharmacy. Consumption must take place in private, unless it’s a medical emergency. Smoking or dabbing cannabis is illegal, even for patients. For those without state-issued medical cannabis cards, possession of less than 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. As far as vaping tobacco is concerned, it’s illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco, vaping, nicotine product to anyone younger than 21 after new rules went into effect July 1, 2020.