Is Weed Legal in Utah? UT Cannabis Laws (January 2023)

Illustration of Bryce Canyon in Utah
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: January 11, 2023

In this article, we answer the question, “Is marijuana legal in Utah?”. You’ll learn about medical and recreational marijuana laws, home cultivation, penalties for possession, decriminalization, and future perspectives on cannabis legalization. We also elaborate on the legal status of hemp delta-8 THC.

Marijuana is legal for medical use in Utah — but recreational weed is prohibited.

Although the medical marijuana program in Utah is one of the best developed in the country, recreational users may face steep penalties for possessing any amount of weed.

That’s right, cannabis hasn’t been decriminalized in Utah, and there are no legislations or ballots pending to legalize weed for recreational use.

Let’s explore Utah cannabis laws in detail.

Is Weed Legal in Utah?

Weed is only legal for medical marijuana patients in Utah. Recreational use remains illegal, with strict penalties for possession, growing, and distributing marijuana.

Related: Is Weed Legal in All 50 States?

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Utah?

No. It’s illegal to use marijuana recreationally in Utah. Even worse, even first-time offenders may be sentenced to prison and have to pay a hefty fine.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Utah?

Yes. Utah passed HB 3001 in November 2018, creating a framework for approved patients to register and legally purchase medical marijuana.

Licensed doctors, osteopaths, nurses, and physician assistants can recommend medical cannabis.

Qualifying patients may possess up to 113 grams of cannabis flower and up to 20 grams of THC in approved formats within 30 days.

Patients can also buy weed online for delivery.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

  • First-time possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor, carrying a prison sentence of up to 6 months and a maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Possession of more than one ounce and less than one pound is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • If you’re caught with more than one pound and up to 100 pounds, you’ll be charged with a felony and face a 5-year prison sentence and $5,000 in fines.
  • The sale or distribution of marijuana is considered a felony, regardless of the amount. You may be sentenced to spend up to 5 years in prison and pay $5,000 in fines. There are heavier penalties for selling cannabis in front of minors or in public places.
  • Subsequent offenses may increase the fines and prison time.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Utah?

No. Utah hasn’t decriminalized weed. Carrying any amount will lead to misdemeanor charges.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Utah?

Currently, no legislation is pending that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Utah, despite the majority of residents supporting the movement.

In 2022, lawmakers improved employment protections for medical cannabis patients (SB 46),

But they didn’t take any steps to loosen recreational marijuana laws.

Delta-8 THC: A Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Utah

Delta 8 THC preroll and oil on a table with wood on the background

Utahns who want to enjoy recreational weed must brace themselves with patience. Nothing heralds legalization shortly, so your only alternative to marijuana if you don’t have a card is hemp-derived CBD oil.

Recently, a new-ish cannabinoid from hemp has been making waves in the cannabis community. It’s federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, but does state law allow it in Utah?

I’ll answer this question in a bit, but first, let’s focus on what delta-8 THC is and how it’s different from delta-9 THC in marijuana.

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC

Delta-8 THC is one of the few variants of the THC molecule that can be extracted from cannabis. It’s the isomer of delta-9 THC, meaning both compounds share a similar chemical formula. However, their atoms are arranged differently.

In delta-8 THC, the double bond occurs at the eighth carbon chain; meanwhile, delta-9 THC has this bond at the ninth chain.

This minor difference makes delta-8 THC about 50% as potent as delta-9 THC — hence the sudden interest in this cannabinoid.

But why do some people choose to avoid high-THC cannabis?

Cons of Delta-8 THC From Marijuana

Marijuana is a mild psychedelic with deeply relaxing properties. In low and moderate doses, it can elevate your mood, improve your cognitive performance, ease pain, and help optimize your nervous system.

Larger doses (macro dosing) will make you feel high, altering your thinking patterns and the perception of time and your surroundings. You’ll also experience euphoria, giggles, increased appetite, sleepiness, or a boost of motivation and creativity if you pick the right strain.

Last but not least, marijuana is a versatile natural medicine with a decent safety profile.

However, not everybody reacts well to the psychoactive nature of delta-9. In some users, higher doses of delta-9 THC trigger its biphasic nature, leading to a range of unpleasant symptoms.

Common side effects of going overboard with THC include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of discomfort
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Short-term memory problems

Effects and Benefits of Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC produces almost the same effects as delta-9 THC — but it’s not as powerful.

The lower strength translates into less intense psychoactive stimulation and a lower incidence of anxiety and paranoia.

Of course, you still can get anxious when you take more than enough, but as long as you keep your delta-8 intake in moderation, these side effects are almost non-existent.

Most people are touting delta-8 THC for its health benefits, including the following:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Neuroprotection

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Utah?

Unfortunately, no. Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives at the federal level — including isomers of THC — individual states retain their right to amend the federal law within their jurisdiction.

The Uniform Controlled Substances Act considers all hemp-derived THCs illegal, so producing, buying, or selling delta-8 is prohibited in the state.

The local law is contradictory to the federal regulations, so ultimately, delta-8 remains in a legal gray area. However, I wouldn’t risk my freedom for a brief moment of joy.

You can try delta-8 THC products in one of the neighboring states, such as Arizona and New Mexico. Their laws follow the language of the Farm Bill.

Benefits of Buying Delta-8 THC Online

Buying delta-8 THC online comes with three major perks that you won’t find with local vendors, namely:

  • Greater convenience – how many times have you been driving around town for hemp-derived products only to find out the stores stock a few uncertified tinctures and vapes, none of which have met your expectations? You can avoid this by buying delta-8 THC online. It takes just a few clicks to compare dozens of different formulas and their prices in the comfort of your home.
  • Lower prices – since online stores don’t have to deal with the middleman, they can offer better prices on their products. You may further save more money thanks to special reward programs, coupon codes, bulk pricing, or subscription orders.
  • Higher transparency – shopping online instead of locally allows you to look inside the lab reports, check customer reviews on independent websites, read the company’s “About Us” section, and seek other users’ opinions on social media groups or forums like Reddit to get a bigger picture of your potential supplier.

Best Online Delta-8 THC Stores in Utah

You may have a hard time trying to find a trustworthy online store. Even with all the tools presented above, it takes a lot of time and expertise to be able to maneuver in the sea of mediocre companies to spot that one pearl.

If you don’t feel like reading certificates of analysis (CoAs) and traveling the internet far and wide, here’s my recommendation of the two leading brands in the market. I’ve been using their products for the last two years due to the level of transparency, integrity, and product quality they offer.

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Area 52 is a company whose products aim at “alienizing your state of mind.” The guys at Area 52 offer a broad range of delta-8 THC products, including tinctures, gummies, honey sticks, vape carts, and pre-rolled joints.

The joints and carts are made with terpenes from various cannabis strains — indica, sativa, and hybrid — to help you tailor the experience to your needs and flavor preferences.

All Area 52 products are potent — packing 25–40 mg of delta-8 THC per serving — and their exceptional terpene content enhances the psychoactive effects, leveraging the whole-plant synergy in cannabis.

Area 52 has recently released a new line of “true full-spectrum” products, including HHC gummies, energy gummies, immunity gummies, sleep gummies, and CBD oil.

2. Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs is the perfect choice for beginners who are overwhelmed by companies selling everything but the kitchen sink. If you prioritize simplicity, then you’re in for a treat. The company offers traditional formats of cannabinoid extracts, including delta-8 THC gummies, tinctures, and vape pens.

The vape pens are infused with sativa, indica, and hybrid strains, so you may pick your favorites depending on the time of day and desired effects.

Finest Labs also offers HHC gummies and energy gummies with Vitamin B12 for those eager to sample cannabinoids for wellness beyond delta-8 and delta-9 THC.

If you’re into making your own cannabinoid blends, I recommend checking out the company’s collection of terpenes. You can browse through single terpenes as well as unique blends that resemble the aromas and flavors of various cannabis strains.

FAQs

Who can use medical marijuana in Utah?

Medical professionals in Utah can recommend marijuana to patients with qualifying conditions, such as:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Nausea
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism
  • Chronic pain
  • A rare condition or disease that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the US
  • A terminal illness with a life expectancy of fewer than six months
  • Hospice care

Can you grow weed in Utah?

Utah doesn’t allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis. Trying to cultivate marijuana plants at home will lead to misdemeanor charges and be punished accordingly.

Can you smoke marijuana in public?

In general, medical marijuana patients are prohibited from using cannabis or cannabis products in public view under HB 3001. The only exception is when they experience an emergency medical condition.

Recreational users found in possession of marijuana risk fines or time in prison when arrested.

Can you travel with marijuana in Utah?

Medical marijuana users can travel with marijuana in Utah, but the medicine must be stored in a closed container and out of the driver’s reach.

It’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Being a medical cannabis patient doesn’t exempt you from that rule; any amount of metabolites detected in the patient’s blood may result in DUI charges.

You also can’t take medical marijuana out of Utah to another state. Doing so is considered a federal felony (marijuana trafficking) and may lead to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if you have less than 50 kg of marijuana or fewer than 50 plants.

Is buying weed online an option in Utah?

You can buy weed online in Utah only if you’re a medical marijuana card holder. There are several dispensaries in the state that offer marijuana for delivery.

Is CBD oil from hemp legal in Utah?

Yes. CBD oil from hemp has been legal in Utah since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. The new federal law removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and reclassified it as an agricultural commodity.

Hemp-derived products are legal in the state as long as they contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry-weight basis. CBD oils are available everywhere in Utah, from pharmacies to wellness centers to fitness clubs, head shops, vape stores, and online stores.

I recommend buying CBD oil in Utah online because, similar to delta-8 products, online retailers offer lower prices, and you have more opportunities to run a background check on your prospects.

Buying Weed in Utah: Bottom Line

If I were to put Utah somewhere on the map of cannabis legalization, it would land in the very middle with its current recreational and medical marijuana laws.

The medical marijuana program in Utah looks impressive; patients have access to all forms of medical cannabis, and they can even order their medicine online.

However, recreational users may still face steep penalties for simple possession — and nothing seems the law will change any time soon in that matter.

Delta-8 THC products from hemp are also restricted in Utah, even though federal law has nothing against them. If you decide to buy delta-8 THC online somewhere in the USA, make sure to source your products from reputable companies that provide up-to-date certificates of analysis for the potency and purity of their extracts.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.