licensing needed in utah for cbd oil

Licensing needed in utah for cbd oil

The retail sale of hemp products including CBD (cannabinoid) oils, foods, and other ingestible products is a business activity that often walks the line between being regulated as a Food Establishment and being regulated as a Marijuana Establishment. Thus, licensing authorities for this industry vary from state departments of health, to departments of agriculture, to marijuana licensing boards. Still, the majority of states either do not have specific licenses for this type of business, or allow that only licensed medical marijuana establishments may sell these products.

Industry Background

Only a handful of states have licenses specific to retailers of Hemp/CBD Products; however, almost all states require licenses for the sale of food items; therefore when starting a Hemp/CBD Products business, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with state, local, and federal definitions of “food” to determine if a license is required for your business. As most CBD products are meant to be ingested in either oil, powder, or smokeable form, there may be different license classifications associated with your business depending on exactly what products you sell.

Those states that do license retailers of Hemp/CBD Products specifically typically require adherence to state guidelines for product labeling, marketing, and percentage of delta-9-THC in the product (usually capped at 0.3%). Businesses can expect to be required to submit to random inspections by licensing boards of both their facility and their individual products to ensure compliance with regulations. The state of Utah requires that each product offered for sale be annually registered with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, with annual registration fees levied per product.

In general, licensing requirements are far less strict than those of marijuana establishments, and fees are less steep. Businesses can expect licensing fees of $50 to $650 on average, though some states, like Utah (mentioned above), may have hefty annual costs. Fingerprinting and background checks of owners and officers is common, as well as submission of facility layout plans, samples of labels, and product descriptions. As with any industry, state incorporation filings, tax registrations, and basic local business licenses are more than likely required.

Ramifications of Non-Compliance

Cannabis itself continues to be prohibited under federal law. This makes compliance with state laws in cannabis-adjacent industries particularly crucial. Unlicensed sale of cannabis or cannabis-derived products can lead to hefty fines and even incarceration of six months or longer depending on the amount sold.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Utah? – February 2022

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, t he 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 c ertificates of a nalysis (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 d estruction r eport 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 hemp – registered 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 compounds — in 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) .


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.