History of Medical Cannabis in Utah

In 2014, Utah passed HB 105, which created a legal right to possess and use CBD-rich extracts of the cannabis plant for patients diagnosed by a neurologist with intractable epilepsy and are registered with the state. The law requires that extracts must contain at least 15 percent CBD, have no more than 0.3 percent THC, and be free of other psychoactive substances. Unfortunately the legislation did not provide a legal mechanism for patients to obtain CBD the state authorized them to access. Utah lawmakers organized an unworkable access system for patients in 2017, approving HB 130 that aimed to provide patients with access to CBD. Under the law only a person who obtains U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approval for an Institutional Review Board study may import and distribute authorized cannabis and cannabis products.

Frustrated Utah patients organized Proposition 2 in 2018, which was approved by voters in November of that year. However the initiative language was quickly replaced by the legislature through HB 3001, which authorized seven commercial medical cannabis retail operators for patients to access, a state-operated filling center that county health departments could access to distribute authorized products to these facilities. Under the legislation medical cannabis cards could be issued to qualifying patients as early as March of 2020.