Legislation History

Utah voters have expanded access to medical cannabis. On Nov. 6, 2018, Utahns approved Proposition 2, allowing patients to obtain and use medical marijuana and in some cases grow as many as six (6) cannabis plants for personal medical use.


It also allows the creation of state-licensed facilities to grow, process, test, or sell cannabis for medicinal purposes and regulates those facilities, which include employing electronic systems to track cannabis inventory and purchases, limiting certain product types and imposing requirements and limits on packages and advertisements.


Legal protections under Prop. 2 took effect Dec. 1, 2018, but much of what is outlined in the proposition — such as issuing cards to licensing dispensaries — won’t be enacted until 2020.


In the weeks leading to Election Day, the fervor generated by Proposition 2 prompted Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Legislature and proposition proponents and opponents – including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to craft a compromise cannabis law regardless of whether Proposition 2 passed.


The bill, which lawmakers began drafting in October, called for relaxing medical cannabis card renewal requirements, tightening qualifications for who can be a cannabis patient’s caregiver or guardian, offering employment protections for patients, and regulating how medical marijuana may be consumed. The Legislature passed the compromise bill Dec. 3 2018, and Herbert signed it the same day.


Prior to the passage of Proposition 2, Gov. Herbert signed HB 105 in March 2014, amending Utah’s Code related to Hemp. This allowed the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) to grow industrial hemp for the purposes of agriculture or academic research. The bill also legalized possession and consumption of low-THC CBD oil for individuals with intractable epilepsy. HB 195, signed into law in 2018, granted terminally ill patients the “right to try” marijuana for medical purposes.


A companion bill, HB 197, also signed in 2018, gives the state of Utah a monopoly on marijuana cultivation, processing, and sales of medical cannabis. Recreational-use cannabis in Utah remains illegal, and possession of small amounts may result in serious legal consequences.


The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is in charge of issuing patients medical cannabis cards, registering doctors recommending cannabis, and licensing dispensaries. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will oversee cannabis cultivation and processing.

Where is it Safe to Purchase?

Currently, there are no facilities in Utah that are licensed to legally sell medical cannabis. When the state licenses private medical cannabis pharmacies, patients 18 and older, a parent or legal guardian of a minor patient, and designated caregivers may purchase medical cannabis. Each must have a medical cannabis card.

Where is it Safe to Consume?

Patients may use medical cannabis if they have a qualifying condition and a doctor’s recommendation. They aren’t allowed to use cannabis in public unless it’s a medical emergency, nor can they use it while driving a vehicle. They also can’t smoke cannabis.


The Medical Cannabis Act specifies that medical marijuana may only be taken as a capsule, a gelatin cube that can be chewed or dissolved, concentrated oil, liquid suspension, skin patch or sublingual pill. In limited instances, medical marijuana can be taken as a resin or wax.

Possession Limits

When having medical marijuana outside of the home, a patient must carry proof that he or she can use the cannabis for medicinal purposes. With a doctor’s recommendation, a patient can assign up to two people help obtain medical marijuana. The Medical Cannabis Act says cardholders can only possess less than 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis or a cannabis product with less than 20 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol.

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
113 grams*
Possession Limit
for Concentrates

Home Cultivation

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is in charge of cannabis cultivation and processing. The new Medical Cannabis Act removes Prop. 2’s wording that allowed for home cultivation.

Utah Medical Marijuana Registry

Beginning March 1, 2020, the UDOH may start issuing cards within 15 days of receiving an eligible application for the Utah Medical Cannabis Program. An applicant must be at least 18 years old or have a parent or guardian 18 or older if a minor, be a Utah resident, and have a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis for treatment.

Qualifying Conditions

Conditions qualifying for medical cannabis under the Utah Medical Cannabis Program include:

  • HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to:
    • pregnancy,
    • cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome
    • cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis or persistent and debilitating muscle spasms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a licensed health therapist (defined in Utah Code section 58-60-101), and that:
    • has been diagnosed by a healthcare provider by the Veterans Administration and documented in the patient’s record; or
    • has been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation from a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psychiatric APRN
  • Autism
  • A terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
  • A condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
  • A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions
  • Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions
  • A condition that the compassionate use board approves (once established) on a case-by-case basis

Patient Qualifications

For those with ongoing and debilitating pain, a doctor must conclude that the patient has pain lasting for more than two weeks or doesn’t respond to traditional medication other than opioids or opiates. For conditions not specified, a Compassionate Use Board of medical specialists will review on a case-by-case basis whether medical cannabis is acceptable for treatment.

Registry Process

Applicants must submit an electronic application linked to an electronic verification system, with the recommending physician while in the recommending physician’s office. The card is valid for 30 days after it’s first issued, 60 days after it’s first renewed and six months after the second renewal, or less, depending on the determination of the patient’s doctor.

CBD Registry

To legally possess low-THC CBD oil in Utah, patients must obtain a hemp extract registration card from the Utah Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Qualifying applicants must be 18 years or older and suffer from intractable epilepsy, or be a parent or legal guardian of a minor who suffers from intractable epilepsy. The application must be submitted in person or by mail to the Office of Vital Records and Statistics

CBD Registry Process

To apply for a Hemp Extract Registration Card, residents of Utah must complete the following application process:

  1. Complete and submit the application for hemp extract registration cards.
  2. Submit a copy of the neurologist’s certification form and patient evaluation record form signed by the patient’s neurologist.
  3. Legal guardians of minor patients must provide a certified copy of the court order proving guardianship
  4. Submit a copy of the patient’s Utah ID or driver’s license as proof of identity and residency.
  5. Pay a $200 application fee.

Registration Cards expire annually. Submitting a renewal application requires payment of a $50 renewal fee. After 120 days past the expiration date, the late renewal application fee is $200.

Caregivers in Utah

Up to two people may help buy and possess medical cannabis for a patient with a disability or “undue hardship” if they have a medical cannabis card with the name of the patient and designated caregiver. They must be at least 21, a Utah resident and not be convicted of a drug distribution offense.

Registry process

A health department is expected to issue medical marijuana cards to a designated caregiver within 30 days of receiving a qualified application. A caregiver must be at least 21 years old, be a Utah resident, pass a criminal background check, and have no recent felony convictions. Applications will be uploaded into an electronic verification system. The card is valid for the amount of time designated by the patient’s medical card and can be renewed automatically when the cardholder updates his/her status as a caregiver.

Cannabis Providers in Utah

According to state law, Utah must establish a process for cannabis to be grown and processed medicinally in the state and ready to sell through a state facility by Jan. 1, 2019. Currently, the state may only sell cannabis to a qualified research institution or a terminally ill patient expected to live less than six (6) months.


Utah doesn’t recognize medical cards issued by other states. Only Utah medical marijuana cardholders may buy cannabis from medical pharmacies in Utah.

Lab Testing

The Medical Cannabis Act establishes testing facilities where all cannabis and cannabis goods sold by dispensaries will be evaluated.

Licensing for Growers, Manufacturers, Processors and Retailers

Eligible pharmacies are expected to receive a license within 90 business days of filing an application no later than March 1, 2020.


Operators must show an operating plan and financial statements showing they have at least $250,000 in liquid assets per application. If there are city or county zone restrictions, operators need a sworn statement of compliance from the proposed jurisdiction and a copy of the local permit to the application.


Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have no felony convictions.


Operators must have at least $250,000 in liquid assets available per cannabis cultivation facility or at least $50,000 in liquid assets available per cannabis processing facility or independent cannabis testing lab.


Separate licenses are required for each type and location of a cannabis production establishment. A cannabis cultivation facility license and a cannabis processing facility license may be issued to a person to operate at the same location or at separate locations. Applications must be filed no later than Jan. 1, 2020.


The state may only issue up to seven licenses for medical marijuana pharmacies and may issue one more if a “state central fill medical cannabis pharmacy” is not established by Jan. 1, 2021 and one more if the state pharmacy is not operational by Jan. 1, 2022. The state central fill medical marijuana pharmacy is expected to be operational by July 1, 2020.


The department may issue up to 10 licenses to cannabis cultivation operators and may issue up to five after Jan. 1, 2022 if more is needed. The Medical Cannabis Act requires that a pharmacist must be employed at businesses selling medical marijuana.

Home Cultivation Regulations

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is in charge of cannabis cultivation and processing. The new Medical Cannabis Act removes Prop. 2’s wording that allowed for home cultivation.


The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

This page was last updated on June 7, 2019