Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Utah, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse, and no generally recognized medical value. (Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-4.) Also, while not covered in this article, it is a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Utah.
For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Utah, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Utah.
It is a crime to possess marijuana in Utah. It is also illegal to causally exchange (that is, with no payment) up to and including one half of an ounce of marijuana. Penalties vary according to the conviction, and increased penalties apply to offenses involving a minor. In addition to the penalties described below, a judge may order the defendant to participate (at defendant’s expense) in a drug offender school, perform community service hours, or both. (Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-8(2).)
It is illegal to cultivate or sell any amount of marijuana (or possess marijuana with the intent to do so) in Utah. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both; with increased penalties for sales to a minor or within a drug free school zone. (Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-8(1).)
It is illegal in Utah to manufacture, sell, or use drug paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do so). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties for possession include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both. Selling paraphernalia may be punished with a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. And selling paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than the seller incurs a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both. (Utah Code Ann. § 58-37a-3.)
A stamp tax is a tax imposed on certain types of transactions (such as the transfer of property) that requires a stamp to be purchased and attached either to the item sold or to an instrument documenting the transaction (such as a deed). The federal government imposes stamp taxes on deeds, the issue and transfer of stocks and bonds, and on playing cards.
In Utah, those who buy, transport, or import marijuana into Utah are required to pay a stamp tax and place the stamp (proof of payment) onto the contraband. However, because the possession of marijuana is illegal, people typically don’t pay the stamp tax. People who are convicted for possession will also be liable for payment of the unpaid taxes ($3.50 for each gram or portion of a gram). (Utah Code Ann. § 59-19-103.)
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.