Marijuana laws throughout the country are being reformed, and some states have even voted to allow the use of cannabis for medical reasons. In Utah, marijuana laws have become even more complex as the state continues to outlaw the drug, but makes certain exceptions for its partial use.
Currently in Utah, parents of children who suffer from severe epilepsy are allowed to legally obtain a marijuana extract that is said the help ease the seizures associated with epilepsy. However, because the production of marijuana and its extract are not legal in Utah, parents have to travel to neighbors states.
Colorado, Nevada and Arizona all have some sort of medical marijuana law in place that allows patients to obtain the substance for various reasons. Under Utah law, the few residents who are able to legally purchase marijuana extract could do so within one of these states. Transporting the cannabis-based medicines back to Utah, however, is an issue.
Marijuana, no matter its use or consistency, still is considered a Schedule I substance under federal law. This means when a parent or caregiver is transporting the substance back into Utah, he or she could be charged with a federal drug trafficking offense. This could carry harsh penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.
Utah Sen. Mark B. Madsen introduced Senate Bill 259 at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session. The bill, which eventually failed by one vote, would have implemented a new medical marijuana plan in the state, allowing patients suffering from AIDS, PTSD, cancer, glaucoma and other disorders to have legal access to medical marijuana.
Even if the bill would have been approved, patients would not have been allowed to smoke or vaporize whole plant cannabis. However, they would have been able to legally access edible medical marijuana products, tinctures and oils for the first time. Now, marijuana remains an entirely illegal substance in Utah.
Marijuana still is considered a controlled substance in Utah, and it is classified under Schedule I. This is on the same level as codeine, morphine, LSD and peyote. Because of this classification, there are various criminal offenses associated with marijuana under state statute 58-37-8.
If a person is in possession of marijuana, no matter if it is considered medicinal in another state, Utah law considers it a crime. The penalties associated with the offense would be determined by the amount of the substance in possession. Generally, possession of less than one pound would be considered a misdemeanor and more than that would be a felony.
Selling, manufacturing and trafficking all are considered illegal in Utah. This means even if a person can legally purchase medical marijuana in one of the nearby states like Nevada, bringing it into Utah could be considered a state trafficking offense.
As the laws continue to change regarding medical marijuana and cannabis, it is important to know the laws of your home state and possibly states. Marijuana still is considered illegal in several states throughout the country and on the federal level. If you are charged with a marijuana-related offense, having a drug defense lawyer can make the difference in your case.