In the recent midterm elections, Arizona joined 14 other states in legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Utah marijuana laws still side with the majority of states by prohibiting the medical use of pot. That doesn’t mean that Utah is free of marijuana. Of the nearly 4,609 Utah residents who were arrested for marijuana offenses in 2002, 4,282 were charged with possession while the others were charges for selling. The Drug Enforcement Agency estimates that over 16,000 pounds of pot are grown in Utah each year.
Utah Marijuana Possession Penalties
Although being arrested with a small amount of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor in Utah, you could still face jail time if convicted. In fact, being convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana can translate into a six month jail term along with a $1,000 fine. For a conviction of possessing any amount between one ounce and one pound could land you in jail for a year and paying a fine of $2,500.
If arrested for possession amounts over one pound, you will be charged with a felony. If you are convicted of possessing marijuana in any amount between one to 100 pounds you could be incarcerated for up to five years and pay a $5,000 fine. With a possession conviction of amounts of pot exceeding 100 pounds the jail time goes up to 15 years and the fine increases to $10,000.
Utah Marijuana Sale Penalties
A person who is arrested for selling any amount of pot in Utah will automatically be charged with a felony. If convicted of that charge, that person can face up to five years in jail and pay a $5,000 fine.
There is a special provision in the Utah marijuana laws for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of specific locations. Those locations include amusement parks, shopping malls, schools, churches, synagogues, recreation centers, public parking lots, theatres and public parks. If the conviction has those circumstances attached then the offender’s sentence can be increased up to the next level of minimum jail time. In other words, selling pot could get you five years in jail; selling pot around a mall could get you ten years in jail.
Utah Marijuana Paraphernalia Penalties
In Utah, if you are arrested in possession of marijuana paraphernalia then you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could serve up to six months in jail and pay a $1,000 fine. Selling any form of paraphernalia in Utah is also a misdemeanor offense. For that type of conviction the potential jail time is one year with a fine of $2,500. However, if you are arrested for selling marijuana paraphernalia to a minor you will be charged with a felony. A conviction for that crime comes possible jail sentence of five years in addition to a $5,000 fine.
Additionally, any type of marijuana conviction will result in a suspension of your driver’s license. The length of that suspension is determined by the specific amounts and charges.
Speaking of driving, Utah also has a zero tolerance policy for any driver found to be operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug such as marijuana. Any amount of pot found in the blood or urine of a suspect will have them charged with a DUI offense.