Utah Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS UTAH'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Utah's first medical cannabis dispensary opened on March 2, 2020. It was an exciting day for activists who had fought strategically to have medical cannabis available in the state of Utah. Currently, the state has awarded 14 dispensary licenses, approved 60 physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients and has seen a growth in registered patients of 300-400 per week since launching. Although initial state legalization placed strict limitations on the cannabis industry, the recently enacted SB 161 and SB 121 have significantly enhanced the state's medical cannabis program. Amendments include preventing discrimination in family court matters due to a patient's participation in the program; allowing flower to be packaged in child proof packaging rather than blister packs; increasing a physician's patient limit from 300 to 600; and removing criminal penalties for registered patients who have THC metabolites in their system but are not impaired.
WHAT ARE UTAH'S CANNABIS LAWS?
The Utah Medical Cannabis Act was approved by voters on November 6, 2018 allowing the use of medical cannabis by patients who received a physician's recommendation. On December 1, 2018 the law went into effect, but was quickly revised to include more restrictions on patient access and a greater level of state oversight. The compromised bill was the only way proponents of the bill saw implementation of a medical cannabis program possible due to Utah state laws, which allows the state legislature to readily overturn voter initiatives.
By 2019, multiple modifications were made to the program. Program participants are now protected from discrimination in family court matters, and from criminal penalties if they have metabolites in their system but are not impaired. Physicians are more inclined to participate in the program now that the number of permissible patients has doubled from 300 to 600. Lastly, flower became required to be packaged in child-proof bottles, rather than in less desirable blister packs.
Utah made medical cannabis even more readily accessible on March 24, 2020 when Governor Herbert signed HB 425 into law. Patients currently obtaining medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary with only a physician's recommendation will not be required to have a medical cannabis card until late 2020.
Today, patients in Utah’s medical cannabis program are able to purchase a one month supply based on dosing amounts recommended by their physician. The most a patient can possess is up to four ounces of cannabis flower, or 20 grams of THC. Patients are not permitted to grow cannabis plants in their homes. Out of state patients diagnosed with a qualifying condition recognized by the state of Utah, and are in possession of forms of cannabis allowed in the state of Utah will receive protection from criminal penalties.
As of May 2020, dispensary drive-through and home delivery of cannabis is now legal. Dispensaries in Salt Lake City and Ogden are expected to initiate these services effective May 26, 2020.
Residents who are not patients and found to be in possession of cannabis can face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if found with one ounce or less.
WHAT IS UTAH'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Applications for cannabis businesses in Utah are currently not being accepted.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN UTAH?
CBD was legalized in Utah in March 2014 when Governor Herbert signed HB 105 into law. The bill stated that low THC CBD oil in the possession of registered patients who were recommended to use such products from a physician was allowed. However, the bill contained no provisions for patients to legally acquire the oil.
After efforts to legalize medical cannabis in Utah in 2015 and 2016 failed, a medical cannabis program was finally approved in 2018. On November 6, 2018 Utah voters passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which was quickly amended by the state legislature with the passage of HB3001 increasing restrictions on patient access and more state oversight.
By 2019, additional amendments updated the program to allow more access to patients and protections against discrimination for program participants. Under the new law, program patients cannot have their participation used against them in family court matters, and they cannot be criminally penalized for having THC metabolites in their system if they are not impaired. Changes also encourage greater participation by Utah physicians in order to increase product demand.
DOES UTAH HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE UTAH CANNABIS MARKET?
In Fall 2020, Utah’s Department of Health will be opening a medical cannabis courier application process. With the application window quickly approaching, now is the time to prepare your application strategy. Point7 would love the opportunity to discuss our products and service packages designed to make the application process comprehensible and successful.