• Following the 2014 Farm Bill legalization of industrial hemp throughout the United States, Utah’s lawmakers passed House Bill (HB) 105, which permits the cultivation of hemp for research and agricultural purposes(1).
  • Utah state laws allow individuals to purchase hemp-derived CBD products without a prescription or medical cannabis card(2). Under federal laws, prescriptions from licensed medical professionals are not needed, provided that the CBD products comply with federal limits concerning THC(3).
  • The 2018 Utah Medical Cannabis Act legalized medical marijuana treatments for specific medical conditions(4). Patients with qualifying conditions are required to have a medical cannabis card to buy cannabis-based products with more THC content(5).
  • The recreational use of marijuana and marijuana-derived products, including CBD, is still illegal in the state.

Utah CBD Laws

The legality of CBD and other hemp-derived products in Utah follow the policies stated in the federal Farm Bills.

The 2018 Farm Bill is an updated, improved version of the initial 2014 Farm Bill that placed special protections and guidelines on industrial hemp research(6).

The bill removed hemp’s status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, effectively legalizing CBD products only if these products are derived from industrial hemp that complies with federal and local state regulations and is cultivated by a licensed grower.

Additionally, the provisions added in the 2018 bill classified hemp as a mainstream agricultural commodity, providing legal protections for hemp growers under the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

House Bill 105

In 2014, the Utah Legislature passed HB 105. This act legalized the use of industrial hemp extracts from hemp plants that contain no more than 0.3% THC, as required by federal law, and no other psychoactive compounds(7).

The bill limits industrial hemp cultivation for research purposes. It also allows patients with intractable epilepsy only to use or possess hemp extract. 

Moreover, HB 105 requires qualified patients to secure a hemp extract registration card and a signed statement from a neurologist indicating that these patients would benefit from taking hemp extracts(5).

Following the 2018 Farm Bill passage, Utah now allows individuals to purchase hemp-derived CBD products without a prescription if the product abides by the federal THC limit(8).

Moreover, the Utah Industrial Hemp Program allows the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp and the marketing and selling of CBD products, provided that the respective parties are registered with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF)(9).

The hemp program was first approved by the US Department of Agriculture in 2018.

House Bill 3001

The 2018 Farm Bill only legalized industrial hemp, defined as a strain of Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC in dry weight(10), and not marijuana.

Federal and state laws define marijuana as Cannabis sativa plants with considerably higher THC concentrations(11). Marijuana remains a controlled substance and is limited to medicinal use, bound by individual state restrictions.

In 2018, the Utah Legislature passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, or HB 3001, under Proposition 2.

This cannabis law legalized medical marijuana use for patients with qualifying conditions authorized by a healthcare professional(12).

According to the Utah Department of Health, only health professionals who hold a controlled substances license may recommend medical marijuana treatments(13).

Under Utah marijuana laws, only patients with the following medical conditions are eligible to apply for a medical marijuana card(14):

  • HIV
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Cachexia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis and other debilitating muscle spasm conditions
  • Autism
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Persistent nausea that is not responsive to traditional medicines, excluding pregnancy and cannabis-induced nausea

Medical marijuana treatments may also be offered to patients receiving hospice care, terminally ill patients with a life expectancy of fewer than six months, individuals experiencing pain lasting more than two weeks and are unresponsive to traditional care, and people with rare conditions approved by the Compassionate Use Board.

Utah lawmakers updated Utah’s Medical Cannabis Law with the following modifications(15):

  • CBD users who fail a drug test due to trace amounts of THC may be held harmless unless proof of illegal cannabis activity exists
  • CBD products purchased from out of state are legalized
  • An extension from 30 to 90 days for first doctor medical cannabis renewals
  • Out-of-state medical cannabis patients may purchase medical marijuana from Utah facilities
  • Decriminalization of driving with inactive cannabis metabolites in a driver’s system

Recreational use of marijuana and marijuana-derived products is still illegal in Utah. Possession of even less than 1oz of marijuana is a misdemeanor and may lead to incarceration(16).

There are currently no CBD possession limits in Utah.

Licensing Requirements 

The UDAF issues licenses for hemp plant growers, processors, and distributors. It also issues business permits for industrial hemp retailers(17).

Parties interested in the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp are required to provide detailed maps of their facilities, including the locations of each hemp cultivar or hemp variety specifically bred to comply with federal and state regulations.

Other general licensing requirements and qualifications for hemp plant growers, processors, and distributors include the following(18):

  • Growers may not cultivate hemp in structures used for residential purposes
  • All individuals convicted of a felony within ten years of application are denied a license
  • All hemp products produced for distribution or already available for distribution in Utah must be annually registered with the UDAF 
  • Hemp products containing CBD must include certificates of analysis (COA) from third-party laboratories

Testing Requirements

All products made with hemp extracts must be tested for the following(19):

  • Cannabinoid content profile by dry weight
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticide residue
  • Residual solvents
  • Microbial compounds like mold and yeast

All COAs must include the product’s batch identification number, the date the sample was received, the date of test completion, and the analysis method used to determine each result.

The UDAF conducts randomized inspection and testing to check for strict compliance with state regulations.

All industrial hemp plants exceeding the federal THC limit of 0.3% may not be further processed and must be destroyed using a UDAF-approved destruction plan. The licensee must first submit a destruction report to the department before disposing of unusable hemp material(20).

Labeling Requirements

The UDAF requires all product labels to comply with the FDA’s various Codes of Federal Regulations according to each product type(21).

All hemp products containing CBD must include a QR code to a COA in their labels.

Utah laws also forbid the inclusion of medical claims on all labels.

Knowing how to read CBD labels is essential in ensuring that a CBD product is high-quality. Check if the label indicates the amount of CBD in the product and its serving size.

Using a COA to verify if the label is truthful is also recommended.

Buying CBD Legally

How to Choose Which CBD Products to Buy

First-time users may find the wide range of CBD products available on the market overwhelming.

CBD products may typically be purchased as CBD oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, topicals, and vape solutions.

Utah requires all CBD products sold in the state to be registered and approved by the UDAF(22). The rule also applies to out-of-state retailers who ship their CBD products to Utah.

The UDAF keeps a weekly updated list of industrial hempregistered products on its website(23). Consumers are advised to check whether the products they are buying are registered to prevent unnecessary trouble with the law.

Besides the difference in dosing methods, CBD products also differ in the types of cannabinoids they contain. Products may contain pure CBD isolates only, formulated as broad-spectrum CBD—containing more cannabinoids except for THC—or full-spectrum CBD, which contains THC.

To get the best CBD oils and products in Utah, one should determine if an item is safe and high-quality. Individuals are advised to research a CBD company’s authenticity.

Important things to note are accreditation with any official hemp organizations, compliance with federal and local government regulations, company and product reviews, and ratings on the Better Business Bureau website.

Before buying any CBD hemp oil, look at the product’s COA to confirm its correct concentration and potency, as not all product packaging labels present accurate numbers. 

COAs also contain detailed information on any detected traces of harmful contaminants, microbial substances, pesticide residue, and heavy metals.

Where to Buy CBD Products Legally

Utah laws allow anyone to lawfully purchase hemp extracts or CBD oil that do not exceed the federal THC limit(24).

Quality products containing hemp-derived CBD may be easily acquired over the counter through many Utah-licensed retailers and dispensaries(25), especially in major cities, such as Salt Lake City, Logan, and St. George.

Leading drugstore chains and wellness stores, like Walgreens, CVS, Target, Sprouts, and Whole Foods, also carry hemp-derived CBD.

As per the updated Farm Bill, it is now federally legal for consumers to order directly from company websites and have CBD products shipped directly to their doorstep, regardless of the state of residence.

Understanding CBD

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids—active, naturally occurring compoundsin the Cannabis sativa plant.

The wellness industry’s growing interest in CBD oil is attributed to its potential therapeutic effects regarding pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects.

CBD and other cannabinoids work by targeting and stimulating responses from cannabinoid receptors distributed throughout the human body. 

These receptors are linked to the endocannabinoid system, which regulates many physiological functions that help the body reach homeostasis. Such functions include(26):

  • Memory
  • Cognition
  • Mood, including anxiety and depression
  • Sleep quality
  • Appetite
  • Cardiac function
  • Insulin response
  • Motor function
  • Energy metabolism and balance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has currently approved one CBD treatment only —Epidiolex, which manages Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These conditions are two types of early-onset, treatment-resistant epilepsy.

What Is the Difference Between CBD and THC?

CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most studied substances regarding the cannabis plant’s potential health benefits. 

THC is most known for its ability to induce a euphoric, mind-altering sensation commonly associated with cannabis use, which CBD was determined not to cause.

When used together to create full-spectrum formulations, CBD and THC are presumed to render the “entourage effect.” This phenomenon is the synergy between all existing cannabinoids, resulting in the increased potency of CBD’s potential health benefits(27).

Conclusion

Despite being associated with the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints religion(28), the state has provided Utah residents more forgiving policies regarding CBD usage.

While Utah residents may freely acquire hemp-derived CBD from licensed-retailers and company websites, it is essential to remember the legal distinction between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD to avoid severe legal repercussions.

Persons suffering from any medical conditions or using any prescribed medications must first seek a health professional’s advice before adding CBD to their daily regimens to avoid unwanted side effects and harmful drug interactions.


  1. Utah State Legislature. H.B. 105 Plant Extract Amendments. Retrieved from https://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0105.html 
  2. Utah Medical Cannabis Program. (2020, May 7). Patient FAQ. https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/resources/patient-and-provider-resources/patient-faqs/ 
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, July 25). Hemp production and the 2018 farm bill. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019 
  4. Utah State Legislature. H.B. 3001 Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Retrieved from https://le.utah.gov/~2018s3/bills/static/HB3001.html 
  5. Ibid.
  6. Hudak, J. (2018, Dec. 14). The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ 
  7. Utah State Legislature. H.B. 105 Plant Extract Amendments. Op. Cit.
  8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, July 25). Op cit.
  9. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Utah Industrial Hemp Program. Retrieved from https://ag.utah.gov/industrialhempprogram/ 
  10. The US Department of Agriculture. Farm Bill. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/farmbill 
  11. Utah State Legislature. H.B. 3001 Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Op. Cit.
  12. Utah Department of Health Center for Medical Cannabis. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from https://health.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/MedCanFAQ4-8-19.pdf 
  13. Ibid.
  14. Utah Medical Cannabis Program. Op. Cit.
  15. Boyack, C. (2020, Mar. 16). 2020 Improvements to Utah’s Medical Cannabis Law. Retrieved from https://libertasutah.org/personal-freedom/2020-improvements-to-utahs-medical-cannabis-law/ 
  16. The NORML Foundation. Utah Laws and Penalties. Retrieved from https://norml.org/laws/utah-penalties-2/ 
  17. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Utah Industrial Hemp Program. Op. Cit.
  18. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Industrial Hemp Production Plan. Retrieved from https://ag.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Utah-Industrial-Hemp-Production-Plan-Version-3.pdf 
  19. Utah Office of Administrative Rules. Rule R68-26. Industrial Hemp Product Registration and Labeling. Retrieved from https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r068/r068-026.htm 
  20. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Industrial Hemp Production Plan. Op. Cit.
  21. Utah Office of Administrative Rules. Rule R68-26. Op. Cit.
  22. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. (2020, July 13). Utah retail outlets can now apply to sell industrial hemp products. https://ag.utah.gov/2020/07/13/utah-retail-outlets-can-now-apply-to-sell-industrial-hemp-products/
  23. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Hemp Product Registration Application (Responses). Retrieved from https://ag.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/11.23.2020-updated-product-registration-list.pdf
  24. Utah Medical Cannabis Program. (2020, May 7). Op. Cit.
  25. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Utah Industrial Hemp Program. Op. Cit.
  26. Zou, S., & Kumar, U. (2018). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(3), 833. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030833 
  27. Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x 
  28. Allen, J. B. The church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. Utah History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/c/CHURCH_OF_JESUS_CHRIST_OF_LATTER-DAY_SAINTS.shtml 
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