Medical Marijuana

In 2014, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 105, legalizing possession and use of low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabidiol (CBD) oil by registered patients with intractable epilepsy who had a physician's recommendation.

The Bill did not, however, include any provision allowing for people to legally acquire such oils and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated that CBD oils were being illegally produced and marketed in violation of two federal laws: The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

On March 25, 2017, Governor Herbert signed House Bill 130, otherwise known as the Cannabinoid Research Act. In anticipation of the ultimate legalization of medical marijuana, the bill created an institutional review board to conduct approved studies of cannabis, cannabinoid products, or expanded cannabinoid products.

While 29 states—including the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia—have legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, Utah and 16 other states have more restrictive laws with limits on THC content.

Utah is situated between two states, Nevada and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, so many residents who purchase cannabis for medical purposes are shocked to learn that they may face criminal charges for possessing marijuana they legally purchased in neighboring states.

Lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT Discusses Medical Marijuana

If you were arrested in Utah for possessing cannabis that you needed for a medical condition, it is in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP aggressively defends clients facing marijuana charges in Copperton Township, Herriman, Holladay, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Millcreek, Riverton, Taylorsville, and many surrounding areas of Salt Lake County.

Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.

You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (801) 532-5297 to schedule a free initial consultation.


Overview of Medical Marijuana in Salt Lake County


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Provisions of Utah Cannabinoid Research Act

The Cannabinoid Research Act enacted Utah Code § 26-59-103, which legalized the following acts as they related to approved studies of cannabis:

  • Utah Code § 26-59-103(1) — A person conducting an approved study may, for the purposes of the study process a cannabinoid product or an expanded cannabinoid product; possess a cannabinoid product or an expanded cannabinoid product; and administer a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product to an individual in accordance with the approved study.
  • Utah Code § 26-59-103(2) — A person conducting an approved study may import cannabis, a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product from another state if the importation complies with federal law; and the person uses the cannabis, cannabinoid product, or expanded cannabinoid product in accordance with the approved study; or obtain cannabis, a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
  • Utah Code § 26-59-103(3) — A person conducting an approved study may distribute cannabis, a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product outside the state if the distribution complies with federal law; and the distribution is for the purposes of, and in accordance with, the approved study.

Utah Code § 58-37-3.6(1) provides the following definitions relating to the exemption for possession or distribution of a cannabinoid product or expanded cannabinoid product pursuant to an approved study:

  • Cannabis is defined as any part of the plant cannabis sativa, whether growing or not;
  • Cannabinoid product is defined as a product intended for human ingestion that contains an extract or concentrate that is obtained from cannabis, is prepared in a medicinal dosage form, and contains at least 10 units of cannabidiol for every one unit of THC; and
  • Expanded cannabinoid product is defined as a product intended for human ingestion that contains an extract or concentrate that is obtained from cannabis, is prepared in a medicinal dosage form, and contains less than 10 units of cannabidiol for every one unit of THC.

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Medical Marijuana Penalties in Salt Lake City

Marijuana possession that is not pursuant to an approved study can lead to a person being arrested. In such cases, the amount possessed and the location of the alleged offense can result in criminal charges.

The possible sentence a person receives if convicted will depend on the amount of cannabis possessed and the location of the alleged offense:

  • Possession of less than 1 ounce — Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and fine of up to $1,900 (including surcharges);
  • Possession of 1 ounce or more but less than 16 ounces (1 pound), or possession of less than 1 ounce in a school zone — Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fine of up to $4,750 (including surcharges);
  • Possession of 16 ounces (1 pound) or more but less than 100 pounds, possession with intent to sell, or cultivationThird-Degree Felony punishable by up to six five years in prison and fine of up to $9,500 (including surcharges); and
  • Possession of more than 100 pounds, possession with intent to sell in a school zone, or distribution in a school zone — Second-Degree Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $19,000 (including surcharges.

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Medical Marijuana Resources in Utah

Cannabinoid Product Board Annual Report | Utah Legislature — View the full text of the November 2017 Cannabinoid Product Board annual report. The Cannabinoid Product Board reviews available research and provides recommendations to prescribing physicians related to the use of cannabinoid products for treating medical conditions, dosage amounts, and identifying interactions with other treatments. The report discusses the process for reviewing and classifying research and divides findings into conclusive evidence, substantial evidence, moderate evidence, limited evidence, and no or insufficient evidence to support the association.

Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) — The UPC is a coalition of patients, caretakers, and advocates leading a 2018 ballot initiative campaign to establish a medical cannabis program for sick and suffering Utahns. The campaign is seeking to collect over 113,000 signatures from registered Utah voters by April 2018. If more than 50 percent of voters approve the ballot initiative, it will become law in Utah.


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Find a Medical Marijuana Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, UT

Were you arrested in Utah for possessing cannabis that you needed for a medical condition? Make sure that you contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP before making any statement to authorities.

Our criminal defense lawyers in Salt Lake City represent individuals in communities throughout Davis County, Morgan County, Summit County, Tooele County, Utah County, and Wasatch County.

Call (801) 532-5297 or submit an online contact form to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.



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