Nonetheless, an airline pilot and his flight attendant fiancée are facing a felony charge for possession of opium poppies - or more specifically, the dried seedpods from opium poppies.
Park City residents Bruce Sanchez and Cynthia Owens were bound over for trial last week by 3rd District Judge Bruce Lubeck for possession of opium poppies, a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
They also face misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
The pair pleaded not guilty. A trial has yet to be scheduled.
Sanchez and Owens say they lost their jobs at Delta Air Lines as an outcome of the criminal investigation. Each had worked for the airline for more than 20 years.
The details of their departure are sketchy. The veteran pilot said he was suspended without pay and chose to retire and claim pension benefits. Owens said she was fired.
A Delta spokeswoman said the airline would not comment.
An attorney for Sanchez, Richard Mauro, maintained the couple had purchased dried ornamental poppy seedpods over the Internet for decorative purposes. Further, he questioned whether the seedpods seized during a Sept. 20 narcotics strike-force raid were that of the opium poppy species, Papaver somniferum.
But in a preliminary hearing, botanist and Brigham Young University Professor Emeritus Stanley Welsh testified with "absolute certainty" that the seedpods were from the opium poppy.
Summit County Prosecutor Paul Christensen noted that the 40 seedpods and a small amount of marijuana seized from the couple's bedroom indicated they were not involved in drug trafficking.
But he added that the case would go forward because possessing any part of the opium poppy - except the seeds - is illegal, whether or not they were dried.
"It's the same as possessing cocaine or heroin," Christensen said, "because the Utah Legislature says so."
Park City police Capt. Rick Ryan said that because the criminal case has yet to be adjudicated, he could not comment on what led police to the Ontario Avenue residence.