MPP Releases 2018 Strategic Plan


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

MPP is excited to be moving into 2018 at a time when marijuana policy reform has unprecedented momentum. While there are sure to be challenges ahead, MPP is confident that we will make great strides this year.

You can find the strategic plan here.

In a great sign of things to come, one of our goals is already on the verge of success. On Thursday, the Vermont legislature passed a bill that would make possession and limited home cultivation legal in the Green Mountain State! The bill is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks.

Read More

Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Initiative


, , , , , , , , 20 Comments

Yet another poll has showed that a strong majority of Utah voters support the medical cannabis ballot initiative.

Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utahns continue to show broad support for a proposed 2018 ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state, according to a new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The new survey finds 75 percent of Utah voters either strongly or somewhat support the proposed initiative, all but mirroring a July poll that had 77 percent of voters backing legalized medical marijuana.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More

Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

The 2018 medical cannabis campaign in Utah is fully underway. Right now, the Utah Patients Coalition is collecting signatures from across the state in order to qualify for next year’s ballot.

A new poll was released showing that 74 percent of Utahns support medical cannabis. Other recent polls have showed similar levels of support.

With legislative inaction, a group now puts forward a citizen petition which would set up a medical marijuana (non-smoking) system in Utah, where a limited number of registered growers would provide types of marijuana to be prescribed by a limited number of doctors for specific diseases and/or chronic pain.

Here are some of the interesting numbers found by Jones in his latest survey:

— Utah Republicans favor passage of the citizen initiative on MM, 61-35 percent.

— Democrats really like the idea, 93-7 percent.

— Political independents, who don’t belong to any political party, favor MM, 87-13 percent.

— Even those who self-described themselves as politically “very conservative” favor medical marijuana legalization, 51-42 percent.

— The “somewhat conservatives,” favor it, 71-25; the “moderates” like the petition, 84-14 percent; “somewhat liberals,” 92-8 percent; and the “very liberals,” 97-2 percent.

Those who said they are “somewhat active” in the LDS Church like MM, 80-15 percent; former Mormons who have left the faith like it, 87-5 percent; Catholics favor MM, 80-20 percent; Protestants (which includes born-again Christians), 61-26 percent; and those with no religion like it, 96-4 percent.

Read More

Utah Patients Coalition Launches Public Hearings


, , , , , 20 Comments

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.

 

Read More

Utah Patients Coalition Launches 2018 Medical Cannabis Initiative Campaign


, , , 20 Comments

This week, the Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) launched a 2018 medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign. The Marijuana Policy Project will help to lead this effort to victory next year, and we are excited for the historic campaign ahead.

The goal of the ballot initiative is simple: to establish a medical cannabis program that allows Utah patients to legally and safely access medicine without breaking the law. You can read a summary of the initiative here.

After several years of inaction in the Legislature, medical cannabis advocates are taking the issue directly to the voters. Christine Stenquist, UPC spokesperson and leader of TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education) told reporters, “This is our opportunity to finally do something.”

Once the initiative is reviewed and approved by the lieutenant governor, our coalition will hold seven public hearings throughout the state and collect the 113,143 signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot in November of 2018.

A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

Read More

Incoming Committee Chairmen Discuss Oversight and Making Marijuana Legal in the Nation’s Capital


, , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

After the passage of Initiative 71 in November, which made small amounts of marijuana legal for adults in the nation’s capital, D.C. residents are awaiting approval from Congress when the new session resumes in January. Despite limited opposition, statements by the new chairs of two key committees are making advocates hopeful that Congress will not interfere.

According to Roll Call:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, won a four-way contest for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on November 18. Two days later, he met with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., to lay the groundwork for a working relationship.

In a statement, Norton expressed optimism that Chaffetz would continue the tradition of staying out of D.C. affairs. The Utah Republican acknowledged that members of Congress “have a role to play” in oversight over the District, though he said he does not expect the committee to interfere unless in an unusual circumstance.

In the Senate, the likely coming chairman of the committee with authority over D.C. shares Chaffetz’s hands-off philosophy.

“I’m somebody who really thinks the federal government should be very limited and where governing is best close to the governed,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who is expected to take the role of chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Nov. 19. “You know, I really look for local control as much as possible so I’ll try and – unless there’s some real massive imperative—let D.C. governance take care of itself.”

One of the first District issues Chaffetz and Johnson will confront as chairmen is how to address making marijuana legal in the D.C., since voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot initiative to make the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana legal.

Both Chaffetz and Johnson are personally against the adult use of marijuana, but Johnson indicated that he would be open to holding a hearing to examine how legal marijuana is playing out in the four states that passed similar measures.

Given the successful implementation of legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington and the overwhelming support from voters, Congress should enable D.C. to move forward as well.

Read More

Utah Lawmakers Recognize Medical Benefits of Marijuana


, , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

Earlier this week, the Utah House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow individuals suffering from intractable epilepsy to possess and use certain marijuana extracts if their neurologist recommends its use. sealLargePatients would only be able to obtain and use marijuana extracts that contain no more than 0.3% THC and more than 15% CBD. Although this law leaves the vast majority of patients behind, it is certainly an improvement on the status quo. 

If it becomes law, H.B. 105 would only provide protection for cardholders who use and possess extracts that have been analyzed for cannabinoid content by labs approved by the Department of Health. Minors would only be approved for the program if their parent or guardian has oversight. Passage of this legislation could bring relief to many families grappling with severe epilepsy.

Although the bill does not cover patients suffering from MS, ALS, cancer, HIV, and a host of other serious conditions that respond well to marijuana, it would be a positive step forward.

Read More

Utah AG “Tempted” to Use Medical Marijuana


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

In an interview Wednesday, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said that he had been tempted to use medical marijuana while undergoing treatment for cancer. He cited many of the reasons other medical marijuana patients do for wanting to use this treatment, including intense pain and being unable to keep anti-nausea medication down long enough for it to work. Unfortunately, medical marijuana is not legal in Utah, so Shurtleff was unwilling to use it, even when offered it by a friend.

This experience apparently taught Shurtleff why people would want to use this medicine. He even said that with the proper controls he would support a medical marijuana program in Utah, so that others in his situation wouldn’t have to choose between obeying the law and relieving their suffering. Hopefully, this will be a small step toward enacting such a bill.

Under current state law, Utah residents can be jailed for six months and fined $1,000 for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Sale of any amount nets a sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine.

While Shurtleff is to be commended for his change of heart, it is unfortunate that he had to go through such a horrible experience to finally see the necessity for medical marijuana access and patient protections. Our leaders shouldn’t have to feel the pain that patients feel to treat them with compassion.

 

Read More

VIDEO: Utah Man Killed in Outrageous Police Raid


, , , , , , , , 20 Comments

UPDATED: Shocking. That’s the only word that comes to mind when seeing the video of Todd Blair, 45, gunned down by armed police storming his home on a no-knock raid in Utah last September. Blair, no doubt surprised by the sound of yelling and having his door kicked in, emerges from an interior doorway holding a golf club over his head. Before Blair can react, Sgt. Troy Burnett shoots him three times and Blair slumps to the floor dead.

No “drop the weapon,” no “get down on the ground,” just bang!, bang!, bang! It’s a chilling scene that’s over before it started, and all the police found was a small amount of marijuana and an empty vial alleged to have contained other drugs.

This type of raid won’t come as a surprise to regular readers of our blog, of course. We see these stories all the time because they’re playing out every day in this country at an alarming rate. Lives are ruined and lost, and for what? A few grams of marijuana? It’s just another—albiet outrageous—example of how prohibition has failed as a policy at every conceivable turn. If videos like this aren’t a sure sign that it’s time to end marijuana prohibition and adopt sensible polices like taxation and regulation, then I’m not sure what is. (originally written by John Berry, with updates by Dusty Trice)

Please donate to the Marijuana Policy Project!

Read More

Could Marijuana Save the 12th Grade in Utah?


, , , 20 Comments

Utah’s lawmakers are getting a little desperate in their search to alleviate the state’s $700 million budget shortfall. One in particular, state Sen. Chris Buttars, is now proposing that Utah cut costs by eliminating the 12th grade, or at least giving students the option of skipping their senior year of high school.

Well, I have a better idea for how Utah could bring in new revenue and keep kids in the classroom at the same time.

If Utah really wants to rake in the big bucks, the state should tax and regulate marijuana, the nation’s largest cash crop. Doing so would produce untold millions in new tax revenue and save millions more in reduced law enforcement costs. Marijuana is already pervasive in our society, and right now the only people making a profit from it are criminal drug dealers.

Sure, the idea might seem extreme for some in Utah, but is it any more crazy than sacrificing the education of the state’s young people?

Read More