Utah is one of 36 U.S. states that permits medical use of cannabis products with restrictions to certified medical patients and limited availability and products. But, it is legal in Utah. What is not legal in Utah, even if you are just passing through, even if it’s legal in your state, and even if you have a medical card in your state, is what you need to know before you travel through Utah. And if you live here, even more important.
First, no smoking. No pipes, no joints, no flames to flower. Vaping is the only inhalation method allowed for medical consumption in Utah. So, medical card holders must use a vape device like a Firefly™ or Volcano™ to heat the flower and draw the vapor through the device to inhale. Or you can vape pre-prepared concentrates in cartridges that fit standard batteries that can be bought at smoke or vape stores, or you can buy disposable vape pens. The flower you can purchase medically can also be eaten, but you cannot smoke it.
So, the main violation I see is folks driving through Utah and being targeted because of their out-of-state license plates (this is legal, trust me) when they commit a minor violation or have windows tinted too dark for Utah law, and they have their legally purchased weed and some pipes or half-burnt blunts in the car. Illegal, cited and probable cause to search, and if you are holding more than weed, you will be arrested.
A medical card holder from any state can have their vape device while in Utah without violating Utah law, as long as their medical card is current and their state ID matches the state that issued the card. If they were smoking it, they can be charged with an infraction and a $100 fine for smoking it the first time, and it’s not a crime on their record, but more like a speeding ticket.
Utah’s medical cannabis law is even stranger and stricter than our liquor laws; don’t forget the alcohol limit for a DUI in Utah is 0.05 for alcohol. You could also get a DUI for weed if you are impaired, but that is another story.
A medical card gives you an affirmative defense to a DUI that is only related to THC in your system, but there is no guarantee you will be found not guilty. Most first offenders of Utah’s weird medical cannabis or possession of marijuana laws are offered plea deals that result in charges being dismissed after a year. However, not all prosecutors are this generous. Every case is handled at the individual level, and your results will depend on many factors, so this is not any kind of guarantee or promise of a specific result.
First offenders get great deals, repeat offenders, not so much. It's always a good idea to hire a competent, experienced professional to assist you. If you are charged with a marijuana crime in Utah, give me a call at (435) 740-8460.