SB121: More Medical Cannabis Program Tweaks
This bill passed the entire legislature unanimously.
Utah’s medical cannabis program has undergone a number of changes since it was first enacted. In this session, Senator Evan Vickers is sponsoring Senate Bill 121 to facilitate additional changes to the program just prior to its official launch this Spring. While many of the changes are minor and technical in nature, there are a few larger ones. Here are the 10 biggest changes we have identified:
- Since cannabis lingers in the body, Utah’s metabolite law is being changed to only criminalize the presence of a pharmacologically active cannabis metabolite. This way, drivers will not be punished for having an inactive metabolite from legal use weeks prior that is not affecting their driving in any way.
- Blister packs for unprocessed cannabis flower are repealed in favor of glass or plastic containers, an industry standard, transported in opaque, child-proof packaging. The container’s legal protections will expire after 60 days when carried outside the patient’s residence.
- To help reduce the bottlenecks patients are experiencing in finding a medical provider who is willing to recommend medical cannabis, the limits of how many recommendations a physician can offer are being increased. General practitioners will be able to issue 275 recommendations (up from 175) while certified specialists will be able to do 600 (up from 500).
- Because CBD use can cause a person to fail a drug test due to trace amounts of THC, those who fail a drug test but who only used a CBD can challenge the test and be held harmless (in court, by a government employer, etc.) unless there is evidence that the individual illegally possessed or used THC.
- Patients convicted of marijuana use before Proposition 2 can seek expungement of their crime under certain circumstances.
- Dosing parameters are modified to instead be guidelines for more physician/patient flexibility in finding the proper balance of cannabis use.
- CBD products obtained outside of Utah are explicitly legalized.
- Medical cannabis patients visiting from another state will have a yearly opportunity for a 45-day window to purchase their medicine staying in Utah.
- Regulating agencies can more easily revoke a bad actor’s license.
- Medical cannabis users are exempt from a prohibition on carrying a dangerous weapon while in possession of a controlled substance.
While many other changes are being made, they are less notable and primarily designed to ensure that the system that will soon launch has the right support and regulatory oversight needed to ensure its long term success.