Lawmakers in Utah approve compromise medical cannabis bill
In a special session held yesterday, the Utah Legislature enacted a compromise medical cannabis law that will replace the ballot initiative approved by voters on Election Day.
As expected, legislators in Utah have enacted a medical cannabis law that will replace the law established by Prop 2. While it is inferior to Prop 2, the new law will ensure that patients who need medical cannabis can safely access it, and its passage represents a victory for patients and their allies who have worked tirelessly to create a compassionate program in Utah for several years.
While we would have preferred Prop 2 to remain the law in Utah, we feel strongly that the ballot initiative would very likely have been defeated without the compromise deal, which prevented an onslaught of opposition spending that might have resulted in defeat. MPP and other advocates made the responsible decision for patients by negotiating with opponents and thereby ensuring the establishment of a functional program.
The compromise bill makes a number of changes to Prop 2 including: no home cultivation for patients, a smaller number of dispensaries, and a requirement that dispensaries employ pharmacists to recommend dosage.
While this legislation is not ideal, it is a major step forward for Utah, and it will help patients and families across the state. The law will enable patients to safely and legally access medical cannabis, and the policy can be strengthened and improved upon in future legislative sessions.
This progress was only possible thanks to the work of MPP and the Utah Patients Coalition, which ran an excellent campaign in support of Proposition 2. Some will be dissatisfied by the shortcomings of the compromise, but today families in Utah can enjoy some relief knowing that medical cannabis will soon be available to patients who need it.
Thank you to everyone who donated to, or otherwise supported, the 2018 ballot initiative campaign. If we had not launched that campaign and qualified for the ballot, medical cannabis patients in Utah would still be treated as criminals. Thankfully, that is no longer the case in Utah.