Why Is Selling THC Cartridges in Utah Illegal?

Utah law enforcement officials are cracking down on the distribution of THC cartridges. In 2019, officers seized over 40,000 cartridges. Anyone caught in possession of or attempting to sell these types of products can be charged with several crimes.

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What Is a THC Cartridge?

A THC cartridge is pre-filled with THC oil. It attaches to a vape device that heats up the liquid and turns it into a vapor that the user inhales.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the part of the cannabis plant that causes a person who ingests it to get high. And in Utah, it's illegal? Thus, possessing or selling a cartridge that contains the substance is unlawful.

Didn't Utah Legalize Marijuana?

In 2018, Utahns voted to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Thus, if a person has a qualifying medical condition, such as Alzheimer's disease or cancer, they can apply for a card to purchase and use marijuana. But they can only buy the substance from facilities authorized by the state.

The law did not legalize recreational marijuana. Therefore, if someone does not have a medical marijuana card, and they do not purchase the substance from a state-licensed facility, they are committing a crime.

What Offenses Can a Person Be Charged with for Selling THC Cartridges?

Because recreational marijuana is illegal, if someone has and/or sells a THC cartridge, they could be charged with possession or sale of a controlled substance. Violations of the law are charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The punishments the individual may face depend on the amount of THC they had or sold.

For instance, selling marijuana can be charged as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum prison term of 5 years and a maximum fine of $5,000. Possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

THC cartridges may also be considered drug paraphernalia under Utah Code Ann. § 58-37a-3. Drug paraphernalia is any instrument or material that allows a person to, among other things, "inject, ingest, inhale, or to otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body..."

According to Utah Code Ann. § 58-37a-5 possessing drug paraphernalia is a class B misdemeanor. It is punishable by a jail term of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

If a person sells drug paraphernalia to another, they may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. A conviction can lead to a jail term of up to 364 days and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

In some cases, people have been using social media to market THC cartridges, appealing to younger buyers. In Utah, when someone 18 years of age or older sells drug paraphernalia to a person under 18 years of age, they may be charged with a third-degree felony. Upon conviction, they may face up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Under the drug paraphernalia laws, both the person who sells the THC cartridge and the individual who purchases it can face criminal charges.

Have you been accused of a drug crime in Salt Lake City? At Lokken & Putnam, P.C., our attorneys will fight aggressively to protect your rights and freedoms. Call us at (801) 829-9783 or contact us online today.