The state of Utah still prohibits the use, distribution, or cultivation of marijuana within the state. Utah likewise doesn’t have a medical marijuana program. However, the use of non-psychoactive CBD oil for the treatment of severe epilepsy is permitted within the state.
Medical Marijuana Laws of Utah
Utah has approved the use of CBD oil for the treatment of severe epilepsy. Aside from this use, marijuana is not allowed to be used for other medical purposes. The CBD legalization happened in 2014 when Governor Gary Herbert signed the House Bill 115 into law. This law legalizes the possession of low-THC CBD oil for registered patients with intractable epilepsy who have recommendations from physicians. This law, however, did not provide any legal means on how patients would acquire the CBD oil within the state.
Subsequent bills like the Senate Bill 259 were proposed in 2015. This SB 259 was supposed to allow the medical use of marijuana for many other debilitating conditions. The bill, however, was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 15-14. In 2016, Senate Bill 73 was passed by the Senate but failed in the House Health and Human Services Committee. Similarly, Senate Bill 89 was passed in the Senate and was approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee.
However, it was not considered by the full House. A non-binding resolution was then proposed which would reclassify marijuana into Schedule II controlled substances. This reclassification would permit studies on marijuana for medicinal reasons.
Drug Possession Laws of Utah
The recreational use of marijuana is prohibited in the state, and for this reason, you will be charged with a criminal offense if you tinker with marijuana when in the state of Utah. Here are the punishments and penalties for violations of Utah marijuana laws:
- If you are caught in possession of less than one ounce, you will be charged with Class B misdemeanor, with up to 6 months of incarceration, and a maximum fine of $1,000. A second conviction of the same nature would be a class A misdemeanor, and a third offense would be a third-degree felony.
- If you are caught with one ounce to one pound, you will be charged with class A misdemeanor, with up to one year of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- If you are caught with 1 lb to 100 lbs, you will be charged with a third-degree felony, up to five years of imprisonment, and up to $5,000 fine.
- If you are caught with 100 lbs or more, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, 1 to 15 years of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The distribution and selling of marijuana are punishable under the laws of Utah. If you are caught selling any amount of marijuana, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, up to 5 years of imprisonment, and up to $5,000 fine. If you are caught selling in the presence of a minor, or within a thousand feet of a school or designated areas, your sentence will be further aggravated. The cultivation likewise of marijuana in Utah is punishable depending on the amount of marijuana you are cultivating.
Can Employers Require their Applicants and Employees to Undergo Drug Tests?
The Utah Drug and Alcohol Testing Act (UDATA) primarily governs the pre-employment and employment drug and alcohol testing in Utah. This Act regulates all private employers within the state. It requires drug tests for applicants and employees of various organizations that are designated to store or transfer nuclear or radioactive waste within and along the exterior boundaries of Utah. Employers, however, may conduct drug tests on the following conditions:
- To investigate the possible impairment of employee due to the drug.
- To investigate theft or workplace accidents.
- To maintain safety for the public and employees.
- To maintain product and service quality, productivity, and security of property or information.
Utah employers should shoulder the costs of drug testing. Drug tests in Utah can either be done outside or within the workplace. Employers have the right to use a test result or the refusal of an employee to take a test as a basis for rehabilitative or disciplinary actions.