Becoming a Patient in Utah

Utah does not anticipate to implement its medical cannabis patient program until March 1, 2020. 

What's Legal

Prior to January 2021, patients are provided an affirmative defense for the use or possession of medical cannabis. If a patient is arrested and they can show 1) that they have been diagnosed with a debilitating condition and had a pre-existing relationship with a physician, APRN, or physician assistant who believed the patient's condition could have been helped by cannabis and; 2) the patient possessed medical cannabis in a medicinal dosage form and quantity as defined by Utah law 58-37-3.7. (Tablet, capsule, concentrated oil, liquid suspension, topical preparation, transdermal preparation, gelatinous cube, unprocessed cannabis flower in a 'blister pack' with each pack containing no more than one gram of flower in individual packs. If a patient does not respond to two or more forms listed above, the patient may be recommended a wax or resin dosage from through their provider). 

If a medical cannabis patient lives less than 100 miles from the nearest dispensary. the patient may possess up to 56 grams of unprocessed cannabis flower, unless their doctor recommends less. For medical cannabis products, patients may posses more than 10 grams of total composite THC.  There are differing rules for those who live further than 100 miles away from a dispensary. 

The state's program for issuing patient cards and licensing cannabis businesses must be operational by March 2020. 

Eligible Conditions

While Utah's hemp extract bill only provided relief for those with intractable epilepsy, the new list includes 

HIV or acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (AIDS)
• 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, or CBD hyperemesis syndrome
• Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
• Epilepsy or debilitating seizures
• Multiple sclerosis or debilitating muscle spasms
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is being treated and monitored by a mental health therapist and that: has been diagnosed by a health care provider or mental health provider by the VA and documented in the patient’s record; or has been diagnosed or confirmed by evaluation by a psychiatrist, doctorate psychologist, a doctorate licensed clinical social worker, or a psych APRN
• Autism
• Terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than 6 months
• Condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
• Rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law and this 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
• If a patient does not have a qualifying condition specifically named, they may petition the Compassionate Use Board for approval of their medical cannabis card.

Application Process

While the application process has yet to be finalized, patients over the age of 18 may apply for a Medical Cannabis Patient Card which would be valid for 30 days upon initial issuance, then for six months upon renewal. Patients who are in between 18-20 must be approved by the state's Compassionate Use Board. Minor patients must also be approved by the state's Compassionate Use Board. 

Doctor

A qualified medical provider (physician, osteopathic physician, APRN, and PAs) must be licensed to prescribe controlled substances and complete four hours of continuing education prior to registering as a designated provider. Providers may not recommend cannabis to more than 175 patients at one time or more than 300 if the provider is certified in certain specialties. Providers may only recommend cannabis in the course of patient-physician relationship after reviewing the patient's medical history and condition. A continuing education requirement will be required for doctor's every two years. 

Access/Caregivers

Caregivers must pay a fee and undergo a criminal background check. 

Consumption

Smoking and edible products (other than gelatinous cubes) are prohibited under Utah Law.  

Age Limits

Patients under 18 will be issued cards subject to the approval of the Compassionate Use Board. Patients under 18 received provisional patient cards in addition to receiving a guardian card.

Housing

There are no explicit protections from housing discrimination for patients under the Utah law.

Employment

In 2019, Governor Herbert signed a law that protected state employees from employment discrimination. 

Insurance

The law does not address health insurance and it is highly unlikely that any health insurer would cover hemp extract expenses.

Out of State Patients

Out of state patients have no legal protection under Utah law.