Is Marijuana Legal in Utah? Here Are the Rules for Weed in the Beehive State
As more and more states decriminalize marijuana, you may be wondering: Is marijuana legal in Utah? Whether you’re a resident of the Beehive State or will be traveling there, knowing Utah weed laws is pretty important if you’re hoping to enjoy some of nature’s herb.
Here’s the short answer: Currently, marijuana is only legal for medicinal use and has been since November of 2018. We’ll talk about some of the specifics of the local rules down below, including whether you need a weed card, whether you can smoke weed in public, whether you can fly with weed in Utah, and more.
Also, if you are a Utah resident who has been prescribed marijuana, you’re going to want to know where you can find high-quality cannabis to keep you feeling your best. Knowing the best dispensaries in Utah is necessary, so we’ll cover that information, too.
Table of Contents
- Utah Marijuana Laws
- Is Recreational Weed Legal in Utah?
- Can You Buy Weed in Utah?
- Is Marijuana Too Expensive?
- Do You Need a Weed Card in Utah?
- Can You Buy Weed With an Out-of-State Card in Utah?
- Can You Carry Weed in Utah?
- Can You Fly from Utah Airports With Weed?
- Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Utah
- Can You Smoke Weed in Public in Utah?
- Marijuana and the Workplace
- Is It Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana in Utah?
- Where to Buy Recreational Weed in Utah?
Utah Marijuana Laws
As mentioned earlier, Utah marijuana laws are pretty straightforward right now – the substance has not been decriminalized and is only legal for medical purposes. So, if you’re a user of marijuana recreationally, keep this in mind while visiting the state, driving through the state, or any other situation where you could find yourself in a case where your recreational use could get you in trouble.
Just to clarify and recap – is marijuana legal in Utah? It is if it is medical marijuana. That means if you have a legitimate qualifying medical condition, you can obtain a medical marijuana (MMJ) card issued from a QMP (Qualified Medical Provider). Therefore, if you’ve got a valid, unexpired MMJ card issued in the state of Utah or another state, it is legal to obtain and consume marijuana according to your provider’s prescribed dosages, but not to exceed within a 30-day time period.
You should also know that even if you are approved for medical cannabis use, Utah has marijuana laws you should still abide by. For instance, it is illegal to use weed on federal property or in public places. This law also prohibits individuals from smoking cannabis or selling/buying weed-infused edibles such as candy, cookies, etc.
While the answer to the question, “Is recreational weed legal in Utah” is a hard “no,” – there are still opportunities to enjoy the benefits of cannabis with an MMJ card.
Federal vs. State Law
As you can see, Utah has specific laws in place about how weed can and cannot be obtained and used. In fact, all states in the nation have their own laws about cannabis. But what about the federal government? You guessed it. They have their own marijuana laws too.
At the time of this writing, marijuana is illegal to purchase, possess, or consume according to federal law. However, that may change in the near future.
In 2023, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Ron Wyden and Cory Booker formally submitted the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). If passed, the Act would put an end to the illegal status of cannabis in the federal law books. The Act would also permit individual states in the nation (including Utah) to establish their own laws concerning cannabis. Additionally, the Act will also do away with currently existing low-level cannabis convictions.
Just keep in mind that If the CAOA is passed, it won’t necessarily make marijuana legal in Utah because state and federal laws are different in how they mandate the use and sale of cannabis.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Utah?
Is medical marijuana legal in Utah? Yes, absolutely. If you are dealing with medical issues where pharmaceutical drugs don’t work for you or you’re not interested in the side effects, meeting with your GP to obtain a prescription for marijuana should be a top priority.
Is Cannabis a Medicine?
If you’re looking for the answer to that question in the strictest sense, then look to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), which contends that cannabis is not approved to treat any type of medical condition. By this definition, no, cannabis is not a medicine.
However, long before all the rules, definitions, and laws got rolling (and before the first dispensary opened) – there’s no denying the benefits of cannabis on medical conditions are both scientifically sound and impressive. It’s been heralded for its medicinal properties since ancient times and has proven to be a powerful ally in helping certain health conditions.
While some proponents deem marijuana as a pharmacy in a flower, there are still more medical studies needed in order to confirm or deny cannabis as a medicine. Furthermore, more conservative states such as Utah may need to work more arduously to legitimize the use of marijuana in an effort to upgrade its label in a more medicinal light.
Is Recreational Weed Legal in Utah?
No, recreational weed is illegal in Utah. However, if you think you’re classified as a recreational user because pot helps you calm down or deal with anxiety, depression, or any other issues, it’s worth meeting with your doctor to see if a prescription might be right for you.
Laws for Using Cannabis in Utah
While you may be disappointed in the answer to the question of “Is weed legal in Utah?” You should still be well informed on the laws around cannabis in the state. Part of living in a democratic country means states get to make their own laws around recreational drugs. Interestingly enough, many of the states that border Utah (Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado — not to mention nearby California, New Mexico, and Oregon) have already legalized recreational marijuana. So while Utah marijuana laws may seem harsh today, that could change in the coming years. The best thing to do is to make sure you stay up to date on what’s going on and use your voice to enact the changes that you want to see.
Recreational Marijuana Use in Utah
You can still get into some serious legal trouble in Utah regarding recreational use. For a long time — beginning in 2014 — only CBD products were legal in the state of Utah. Then in February 2018, the Utah House of Representatives passed HB 195, which gave medical patients the “right to try.” By November of 2018, the Utah Cannabis Medical Act was passed, and dispensaries were set to be opened by 2021. However, in December of 2018, the Governor signed HB3001, which immediately set the new law for medical use.
Still, with recreational use being illegal and cannabis not being decriminalized in the state of Utah, you can get charged with possession and a misdemeanor — even for tiny amounts of marijuana. These laws on CBD and marijuana are critical to be aware of, even if you’re just traveling through the state.
Medical Marijuana Use in Utah
Since Utah marijuana laws state that it’s only available for medicinal purposes, you should be educated on how to qualify to get a prescription for marijuana. Except for PTSD, most of the qualifications for a prescription for marijuana in Utah are severe conditions or terminal illnesses. But suppose you suffer from pain that lasts longer than two weeks, and your doctor feels that your pain can’t be adequately managed by conventional methods. In that case, marijuana could be an option for you (over opioid-based painkillers).
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you and your doctor feel that you could benefit from medicinal marijuana for your mental health issues, you can go to the state of Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services and submit a request for a medical cannabis card. Patients who are minors (under 21) or adults who do not have qualifying conditions can appeal for an MMJ card through the Compassionate Use Board. The Compassionate Use Board reviews petitions and makes decisions case-by-case. This board comprises seven Qualified Medical Providers and can get you an answer to your petition within ninety days. They have deadlines for their petitions, so make sure that you are proactive with this route if you’re a resident and don’t qualify under the general illnesses the law grants cards for.
If you are a resident of Utah and have a qualifying condition (please see the list of conditions below), you can start the process of getting an MMJ card by submitting an application online to the Utah DHHS. Then you must meet in person with a QMP (Qualified Medical Provider) registered with Utah DHHS. The application fee is $15.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
Now that we’ve covered how to get a medical marijuana card, let’s take a look at qualifying conditions that the state deems eligible under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act:
- PTSD (must be in active treatment and monitored by a licensed mental health therapist)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s and/or Ulcerative Colitis
- Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
- MS or ongoing, debilitating muscle spasms
- Nausea that is persistent and does not respond to conventional treatment (does not include nausea from pregnancy)
- Terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less
- Ongoing pain that does not respond to conventional treatment
For further clarification on qualifying conditions and circumstances, please refer to the Utah DHHS.
Pharmacies and Their Roles for Medical Cannabis in Utah
In the ultra-conservative Beehive State, pharmacies have given residents the opportunity to reap the benefits of marijuana without fear of breaking the law. In fact, since Utah voters approved Proposition 2 (the medical marijuana ballot initiative), doctor-approved marijuana treatment was legalized. After Prop 2 was passed, state lawmakers proceeded to establish regulations to govern the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis. Part of the regulatory process involves marijuana pharmacies.
The advent of these pharmacies allows the state to control how cannabis is cultivated and sold in the state, which, in the eyes of lawmakers, should staunch the possibility of marijuana abuse and other potential problems. Pharmacies allow the state to retain control of weed while also providing Utah residents with much-needed aid for medical conditions with which cannabis can help.
Can You Buy Weed in Utah?
To purchase medical marijuana in Utah, you must be at least eighteen years of age and have a medical card. All cards for patients 21 years of age and younger must be approved by the aforementioned Compassionate Use Board. So, even if your doctor has deemed that your medical situation benefits from the prescription, you have to obtain the card through CUB if you are under 21 years of age.
Is Marijuana Too Expensive?
According to a recent survey conducted by the Utah Cannabis Co-Op and the Utah Cannabis Association, the average price for the most commonly purchased cannabis products (gummies, vape cartridges, & flower) is roughly $134 nationwide. In Utah, the average cost for these items is around $130. While that’s in the affordable range, Utah’s cannabis prices are still much higher than neighboring states such as Nevada or Colorado.
Do You Need a Weed Card in Utah?
Yes. Utah’s weed laws require that you purchase weed through a state-approved dispensary, and you must have a card issued to you to do so. Medical cannabis cards are issued through the Utah Department of Health. To get your medical cannabis card, you will have to meet with a QMP (qualified medical provider). If you’re wondering which QMPs will issue cannabis cards, you can find that information on the Government of Utah’s website.
Recently, Senate Bill 137 was passed, allowing medical marijuana cardholders to extend access to medical cannabis without having to renew their cards regularly (which was every year). Now, SB 137 extends the expiration dates of MMJ cards from six months to one year. The Bill also makes provisions for electronic (online) signatures for renewals making the renewal process more convenient for patients.
Can You Buy Weed With an Out-of-State Card in Utah?
No. As of July 2021, out-of-state MMJ cards cannot be used to purchase cannabis products in the state of Utah. However, non-Utah residents can request a card from the DHHS that is good for up to 21-day within a full calendar year if they wish to purchase weed in Utah.
Can You Carry Weed in Utah?
When you wonder, “is weed legal in Utah?” you may also be wondering how much you are legally allowed to have on you. Since weed is only permitted for medical use, people with a medical prescription for marijuana in Utah can possess up to 3.95 ounces in thirty days. If you are transporting or traveling with weed outside your home, either you or your caregiver must also have your cannabis card.
Since Utah marijuana laws are for medicinal use only and for that amount in thirty days only, if you are in possession without a card, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, up to $1000 in fines, and up to six months imprisonment.
If you’re caught with more than one ounce and up to a pound the offense is still a misdemeanor, but you could be subjected to up to one year imprisonment and a fine up to $2500.
The hits keep on coming if you possess up to 100 pounds, as it comes with a felony charge, five years imprisonment, and up to $5000 in fines. Anything over 100 pounds in illegal possession of marijuana is also a felony, incurring up to 15 years of prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Can You Fly from Utah Airports With Weed?
Though many states have legalized marijuana not only medicinally but recreationally, it is still considered an illegal drug on the Federal level. Therefore, you cannot fly from Utah airports with cannabis. If you are flying into Utah from a state where this weed is legal, keep this in mind. While TSA agents don’t typically search for weed, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re flying into Utah and have a medical card for marijuana, many dispensaries can accommodate your needs throughout the state.
Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Utah
For many people considering moving to Utah, they might be curious is marijuana legal in Utah because they’re used to growing their own in their home state where it may be permitted. Marijuana cultivation laws in Utah can be pretty severe and lead to imprisonment. So, it’s best to go through the many dispensaries and pharmacies to avoid any legal issues.
And remember those penalties we mentioned about possession? The same penalties apply if you’re caught illegally cultivating marijuana in Utah.
Can You Smoke Weed in Public in Utah?
Even with a medical marijuana card, patients may only consume their cannabis in private in Utah – except for a medical emergency. So, even if it’s prescribed to you, keep in mind Utah’s strict marijuana laws when you’re deciding when and where to partake.
Marijuana and the Workplace
When you are a patient who requires marijuana to manage your medical condition, you might be asking if you can use it in the workplace. Well, it depends on where you work. Private employers are under no obligation to abide by their employee’s prescription needs, but if you’re a public employee, they do.
Is It Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana in Utah?
It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Utah and comes with serious consequences. Your first offense can lead to at least 48 hours in jail, 48 hours of community service, and even possible home confinement – and that’s just the first offense. So, be wise and don’t drive under the influence of any drug or alcohol.
Where to Buy Recreational Weed in Utah?
Recreational weed is illegal in Utah, but if you’re visiting or live in the state and have a medical cannabis card, you should see some of the many dispensaries in the state that offer what you need. Check out some of the most reputable dispensaries in the state.
Cannabist in Utah
Cannabist Utah is one of many dispensaries in not only the state, but the U.S. Through Project Cannabis, they have locations from Maine to California – and one right in the Provo area. Their staff is highly knowledgeable, and it’s a no-pressure atmosphere. If it’s your first time shopping for medical cannabis, you’ll feel at ease as you learn what strains are best for you as well as the preferred method of consumption.
- 484 S 1750 W, Springville, UT 84663
- Phone: (385) 327-0922
- Hours: Mon – Sat 11am-7pm, Sun – Closed
If you’re in the Salt Lake City area, you might try the Beehive Farmacy. They have hundreds of mostly positive online reviews, and the decor of their dispensary is modern and minimalist.
- 1991 3600 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
- Phone: (385) 212-0088
- Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 8pm Sat – Sun 10am – 6pm
If you’re in Lehi, try Curaleaf. This location claims to offer great service to their patients, and they are also part of a nation-wide chain of dispensaries.
- 3633 N Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, UT 84043
- Phone: (385) 338-8010
- Hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm, Sun 10am – 7pm
While Utah may not be as progressive when it comes to its marijuana laws, it’s excellent they have given the option to people to obtain marijuana legally for certain medical needs. Stay healthy, Utah!