It is often claimed that Utah was the first American state to prohibit marijuana in 1915. Other scholars claim California was the first in 1913, while Massachusetts may have restricted cannabis as early as 1911. In any case, residents of Utah were not even able to purchase CBD oil until 2014; and even then, you needed a physician’s recommendation and intractable epilepsy.
It was something of a surprise when Proposition 2, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, was passed in November 2018. HB3001 was passed in December and signed into law on the same day. While it is undeniably good news, the law only permits medical marijuana to be sold at approved locations and to approved individuals. At the time of writing, neither exists, so it is still technically an illegal substance.
Let’s take a look at how you may be able to get your MMJ card in Utah in the future.
The Definitive Guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Utah
As at January 1, 2019, Utah was required to open at least one medical marijuana facility, but that is the fulfillment of a different law and only terminally ill patients with less than six months to live are allowed access. As part of the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, the state doesn’t need to have MMJ cards ready until March 1, 2020.
The state also isn’t required to offer licenses to dispensaries and facilities until the beginning of 2020. The idea is to open 15 cultivation facilities by the start of 2022. There is a provision in Proposition 2 which allows for more facilities if there is enough demand. The Act also ensures that there will be no more than one dispensary per 150,000 people in each county.
Once everything is ready, this is what you’ll need to do to get an MMJ card in Utah.
Step 1 – Get a Physician’s Recommendation
You need to visit a qualified medical provider (QMP). During this initial consultation, you will discuss how medical marijuana will help benefit your condition. Bear in mind that you need to have one of the qualifying conditions we outline below.
Step 2 – Apply for an MMJ Card
You will be able to apply for your MMJ card with your QMP at his/her office through an Electronic Verification System (EVS). You must be a resident of Utah, aged 21+, and provide your name, gender, age, and address. Patients are also asked to sign a form where they acknowledge the risks of using weed.
If you are aged 18-20, you can qualify if the Compassionate Use Board recommends approval. Minors can also apply but need to apply for a Medical Cannabis Guardian Card and a Provisional Patient Card. If you have a designated caregiver, they need to apply for a Medical Cannabis Caregiver Card.
Step 3 – Wait for Approval
Once you have applied, it shouldn’t take the Department of Health more than 15 days to issue a card if you qualify. Once you receive your Medical Cannabis Patient Card, it is valid for up to 30 days initially, then six months. You will need to renew the card every six months and pay a fee each time.
Step 4 – Use Your MMJ Card
Once you have the MMJ card, you can only purchase, possess, transport, and use weed in a medicinal dosage form. You need to keep your card on you at all times if you are in possession of marijuana, and are not allowed to use it in public barring an emergency.
What are the Qualifying Conditions Required to get a Medical Marijuana Card in Utah?
According to the medical marijuana law, the following conditions are approved:
- Epilepsy/debilitating seizures
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Persistent nausea unrelated to pregnancy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal illness with less than six months to live
- Any condition which affects less than 200,000 people in America
- Any condition which causes the patient to require hospice care
- Any patient approved by the Compassionate Use Board that doesn’t have a medical condition on the list
- Chronic and severe pain lasting longer than 14 days if a non-opioid prescription or a physical intervention such as chiropractic care doesn’t work.
What are Medical Cannabis Card Costs in Utah?
Try as we might, we were unable to find hard evidence of the likely fees associated with getting an MMJ card in Utah. Going by other states, we expect a fee of between $50 and $100 to apply and $200-$300 for a doctor’s consultation. You can be fined $100 for not having your card if in possession of weed, or for not having your cannabis properly labeled.
Other Important Information on the Utah Medical Marijuana License Process
Once you finally get your hands on a Utah MMJ Card, you should be able to purchase a maximum of two ounces of unprocessed medical cannabis with a maximum of 10 grams of THC in a 14-day period.
According to the existing Act, if you have an MMJ card and live more than 100 miles from a dispensary, you will be legally allowed to grow a maximum of six plants for your own use. In this case, your plants need to be grown within a locked and enclosed space not in view from any public place and must be grown outdoors. We have bad news if you live within 600 feet of a community location or 300 feet of another home; you can’t grow weed!
The terms of Proposition 2 also state that you are not allowed to use cannabis in a way that causes combustion at a temperature of above 750 degrees Fahrenheit. This is due to a 2017 study by Portland University which states that smoking weed at temperatures above 750 degrees releases harmful carcinogens. If that part of the law holds, it means you can’t smoke a joint and will need to use a vaporizer instead.
While you may have to wait until March 2020 to get your MMJ card, if you are caught in possession of weed without a card before July 1, 2020, and can prove you would be eligible, you are given “an affirmative defense to criminal charges.” You can also defend yourself against criminal charges for weed possession by saying you are not a Utah resident or have lived in the state for less than 45 days.
If the ‘one dispensary per county per 150,000 people’ rule is followed, there will be a total of 20 in Utah. There will be two apiece in Washington County and Weber County, three in Davis County, five in Utah County, and eight in Salt Lake County.