The Status of Cannabis Legalization in Utah
Utah’s statewide medical cannabis program voted into law in 2018, but has only opened three of up to 14 promised dispensaries since September 2020, according to Utah Business.
For now, the more than 2,800 registered cardholders in the statewide medical cannabis program are beholden to only three dispensaries. The upside to the downside of limited dispensaries is that Utah allows the sale of cannabis in several forms including tablet, capsule, concentrated oil, liquid suspension, transdermal preparation, gelatinous cube, Unprocessed cannabis flower in a blister pack containing no more than one gram of flower pods in each individual blister, and wax or resin.
As state and federal laws continue to change from year to year on medicinal and recreational cannabis use, assuredly Utah will be modifying its program as patients and citizens demand Utah keep up with what they promised.
Possession of Medical Cannabis Prior to 2021
Prior to January 2021, under Utah law, patients meeting certain criteria outlined in the Medical Cannabis Act may legally possess medical cannabis without a medical cannabis card. Compliance with the Utah Medical Cannabis Act may not protect patients from liability for violations of federal law or the laws of other states. Questions regarding this provision of the law are best answered by an attorney who can provide legal counsel specific to an individual’s situation.
Patients 18 and older, a parent or legal guardian of a minor patient, and designated caregivers may purchase medical cannabis. Each must have a medical cannabis card.
According to the state, medical cannabis in Utah is also available to allow residents who suffer from “pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions” or have “a rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions.”
Conditions qualifying patients for medical cannabis under the Utah Medical Cannabis Program include:
- A rare condition or disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S., as defined by federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions.
- A terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
- An illness requiring hospice care
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
- Ongoing and debilitating pain
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to:
- Cannabis-Induced Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome
- Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a licensed health therapist and that:
- Has been diagnosed by a healthcare provider by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or
- Has been diagnosed or confirmed by the evaluation from a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN
Along with having qualifying conditions, a patient applying for the medical cannabis program in Utah must prove their residency with a valid driver’s license or current state identification card. The annual card registration fee is $50 and must be paid when approved.
Utah has set up a caregiver application process completely online, beginning with the registered patient designating a caregiver on their application. After a caregiver has been named, they must prove they are a Utah resident with a valid driver’s license or current state identification card. The caregiver must also undergo a background check to be approved. Once approved, a caregiver license fee of $68.25 must be paid. If the caregiver has two patients, the secondary license is only $15.
Possession and Cultivation
Utah has specific possession laws regarding medical cannabis, reporting a patient is not allowed “more than 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis (raw bud or flower in blister packs),” or “more than 20 grams of total composite THC in all other medicinal dosage forms. There is absolutely no cultivation of cannabis allowed in Utah.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost for the medical marijuana evaluation and approval with Veriheal is $199, with a full guarantee if not approved. Additionally, the state of Utah charges an annual registration fee of $50 when approved.
Yes. To be approved for a medical cannabis license in Utah an applicant must provide either a state license or identification card to prove their residency.
You must be at least 18 years of age and be able to provide residency with a current driver’s license or state identification card and have one of the qualifying conditions from which physicians are allowed to approve patients for.