Utah Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS UTAH'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Content Below Last Updated by Point7 4/12/22
After almost two years into legal sales, Utah's first medical cannabis dispensary (“pharmacy”) opened in Salt Lake City on March 2, 2020. It was an exciting day for activists who had fought strategically to have medical cannabis available in the state.
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.
The 2022 General Session of the Utah State Legislature ended March 4, 2022 and included a handful of bills passed by legislators that propose amendments to medical cannabis and hemp laws in Utah, listed below. As of Friday, March 17, 2022 these bills have not been signed by Governor Cox.
- Senate Bill 46 Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Amendments
- Senate Bill 153 Medical Cannabis Governance Study
- Senate Bill 190 Medical Cannabis Act Amendments
- Senate Bill 195 Medical Cannabis Access Amendments
Senate Bill 46 Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Amendment amends protections for medical cannabis patients, including public employees, to protect the holding of a medical cannabis card and medical cannabis recommendations.
Senate Bill 153 Medical Cannabis Governance Study will require the Legislative Management Committee to create a working group to study and make recommendations regarding a single state entity to oversee all medical cannabis regulation. This bill will also require the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Department of Health to report to the working group as requested.
Senate Bill 190 Medical Cannabis Act Amendments amends the following: defines program terms; clarifies the distinction between allowable hemp products and medical cannabis products based on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and THC analog concentration; requires certain retailers marketing a hemp or cannabinoid product to include a statement that the product is not cannabis or medical cannabis; requires the identification of any cannabinoids above a certain quantity in a cannabis product; identifies an unlawful act of distributing, selling, or marketing an industrial hemp product that contains a certain amount of THC or a THC analog; allows the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) to partner with research universities to provide cannabis testing laboratories; grants rulemaking authority to UDAF to establish performance standards for licensed independent cannabis testing laboratories; provides that certain licenses are non-transferable, and new owners of a licensed business are subject to a modified application process for a new license, prohibits the introduction of industrial hemp waste from outside the state into the medical cannabis production stream; provides rulemaking authority to UDAF to further define standards regarding labels, packaging, and product forms that may appeal to children; amends product labeling requirements; clarifies that a sugar coating on certain cannabis product is not prohibited under certain circumstances; clarifies provisions related to the liquid suspension medicinal dosage form; includes an aerosol as an approved medicinal dosage form; expands medical cannabis pharmacy employee access to the electronic verification system; amends an exception for public employee protections; removes a requirement for medical provider approval of a patient's caregiver designation; allows the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to issue conditional medical cannabis caregiver cards in relation to designating patients with a terminal illness; amends provisions regarding designated caregivers to contemplate a caregiver being designated by more than one medical cannabis cardholder; allows UDOH to issue a conditional medical cannabis pharmacy license when a license renewal process is not complete before the pharmacy's license expires; requires medical cannabis pharmacy agents to complete certain continuing education in federal health privacy laws; removes a prohibition on medical cannabis pharmacies employing an individual with a felony; allows for the Cannabis Production Establishment Licensing Advisory Board to review certain information in a closed meeting; aligns the concept of unprofessional conduct between the various types of recommending medical providers;
Senate Bill 195 Medical Cannabis Access Amendment covers: defines terms; requires a hospice program to provide at least one qualified medical provider; renames the Cannabinoid Product Board as the Cannabis Research Review Board (board); requires physician members of the board to be qualified medical providers; adds acute pain for which a medical professional may generally prescribe opioids as a qualifying condition for a limited supply of medical cannabis; amends provisions related to advertising regarding medical cannabis; requires a recommending medical provider to consider a patient's history of substance use or opioid use disorder before recommending medical cannabis; amends provisions regarding the process to renew a medical cannabis card; allows a designated caregiver facility to receive medical cannabis shipments on behalf of a resident patient; codifies a rule regarding the names and logos of medical cannabis pharmacies; clarifies the enforcement authority of the Department of Health in relation to licensed medical cannabis couriers; requires certain individuals overseeing certain higher education medical training to be qualified medical providers; and makes technical and conforming changes.
WHAT ARE UTAH’S CURRENT CANNABIS LAWS?
Cannabis in Utah is currently illegal for recreational use and possession of small amounts is punishable as a misdemeanor crime. Medical use was legalized by Utah voters on November 6, 2018 through the Utah Medical Cannabis Act initiative, allowing the use of medical cannabis by patients who receive a physician's recommendation. The initiative allows for topicals, cannabis oils, cannabis edibles, and vaping, but not smoking. On December 1, 2018 the law went into effect, but was quickly revised through HB 3001 to include more restrictions on patient access and a greater level of state oversight. Due to Utah state laws which allow the state legislature to readily overturn voter initiatives, the compromised bill was the only way proponents of the bill saw implementation of a medical cannabis program possible.
On February 28, 2020 Governor Herbert signed SB 121 which made a number of changes to the medical cannabis program including: allowing cannabis flower to be dispensed in child-proof bottles, not just blister packs; allowing physicians to recommend more patients; and removing criminal penalties from registered patients with THC metabolites in their system who are not impaired. Utah made medical cannabis even more readily accessible on March 24, 2020 when Governor Herbert signed HB 425 into law, which delays the requirement that patients obtain a medical cannabis card until late 2020. On March 1, 2020 the DOH began accepting applications for patient registration cards.
As of May 2020, Utah dispensary drive-through and home delivery of cannabis is now legal. Dispensaries in Salt Lake City and Ogden were expected to initiate these services effective May 26, 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. However, 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.
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?
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 HB 3001 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?
Under House Bill 385 Hemp and CBD Amendments, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is no longer responsible for regulating and licensing hemp cultivators in Utah. Interested cultivators will need to apply for and obtain a USDA license. Click here for more information.
Under House Bill 3001, passed by Utah lawmakers on December 3, 2018, legal possession of hemp extract, or CBD oil, containing less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) no longer requires a hemp extract registration card. Therefore, the Utah Department of Health no longer issues or renews hemp extract registration cards. Although a card is no longer required to possess hemp extract containing less than .3% THC in Utah, those who cultivate, process, or sell these products must be licensed by the USDA.
To learn more about legal cultivation, processing, or selling of hemp extract in Utah, click here.
PREPARING FOR THE UTAH CANNABIS MARKET
We are ready to support your team as you prepare for cannabis licensure in Utah. Contact Point7 to discuss the fully customizable products and service packages available that have proved successful for operators around the country.