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Utah Legislature Declines to Vote on Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted by Utah Criminal Lawyer Stephen Howard - March 11, 2016

After much debate within the legislature, demonstrations by citizens on both sides, pleas from patients who believe that medical marijuana will ease their suffering, and worries from others that the legalization of marijuana would create a variety of problems, the Utah legislature yesterday decided to pass on the issue of marijuana legalization. There is already discussion among supporters on the question of how to raise the issue again. But for now, possession of marijuana remains a criminal offense in Utah.

Criminal Charges for Marijuana Possession in Utah

Currently, under both federal and state law, possession of marijuana remains illegal in Utah. Although the federal government is choosing not to prosecute most violations of federal law relating to marijuana possession in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational and/or medical use, a person in Utah who is found to be in possession of, using, or distributing marijuana can be prosecuted under federal or state law. Most marijuana charges in Utah are filed in the state court system or in one of the local justice courts found throughout the state.

Marijuana possession charges begin at the class B misdemeanor level, punishable by up to six months jail and nearly $2,000 in fines (including surcharges and fees). Depending on the quantity of marijuana involved, the proximity to a drug-free zone, and whether distribution was involved or intended, the level of the offense can potentially be increased to the felony level.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah

Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake CityIf you have been charged with marijuana possession or other criminal charges in Utah, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is vital. Serving Salt Lake County and the rest of Utah, criminal attorney Stephen Howard has the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

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In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

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