Legislators in Utah have passed legislation, SB 161, that would implement technical fixes to Utah's newly adopted medical marijuana law. The bill now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
Changes include elimination of language that could be used to discriminate against parents who are medical marijuana patients and extending protections to family members of patients who are assisting their loved one with accessing medicine. You can read details about the legislation by visiting the website of our local ally, the Libertas Institute.
In the compromise reached before passage of Prop 2 last year, all parties agreed to wait until 2020 before proposing and adopting major policy changes to the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
Stay tuned for more updates.
The Utah Patients Coalition held a news conference on Thursday to announce the official launch of signature gathering efforts to get a medical marijuana initiative on the Nov. 2018 ballot. Volunteers began collecting signatures in downtown Salt Lake City immediately following the event.
The Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox on August 10 to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders. More than 113,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot.
Good 4 Utah reports:
They are due April 15, 2018, but this group wants to get all the signatures turned in before the 2018 Legislative Session starts.
"The legislature has had an opportunity for the last three or four years to make substantive policy on this and has failed to do so, so now I think it's time for the people to decide on this issue," said DJ Schanz, Utah Patients Coalition Campaign Director.
The initiative would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor. It limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016. Home cultivation and smoking medical cannabis would not be permitted.
As required by state election law, Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) is holding eight hearings throughout the state of Utah to collect public comment on the proposed citizens’ initiative petition, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. On Wednesday, UPC held the first set of these public meetings in Salt Lake City, Lehi, and St. George.
Sharing powerful personal stories about how medical cannabis has significantly improved their quality of life, several patients made their case to a roomful of interested voters and took questions. Read more about the public forum that took place in Salt Lake City here. A complete list of these public hearings can be found here.