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Medical Marijuana Policy

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Forward

medical marijuana utahUtah is the latest ‘red’ state to consider medical marijuana. Yesterday, Utah’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.

Senate Bill 259 from Sen. Mark B. Madsen would create a state registry of medical marijuana patients who could possess and use marijuana.  The bill would also direct the state of Utah to issue licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries to qualified patients.

“I am one step closer to legal access to my medicine,” said Christine Stenquist,  a medical marijuana patient and executive director of Drug Policy Project of Utah. “Our elected leaders have an opportunity to help sick patients find relief and there is no excuse not to.”

“If medical marijuana can advance in Utah – with significant support from Mormons in and out of the legislature – it can advance anywhere in the U.S.,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Medicine is medicine, regardless of one’s politics, faith or views about drugs.”

Twenty-three states, one U.S. territory (Guam) and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. While state medical marijuana programs differ from one another in significant ways, most are tightly controlled programs regulated by the state departments of public health.

Since the 1990s, polls have consistently found support for medical marijuana ranging from 70 to 80 percent.  Recent polls have found that two-thirds of Republicans believe federal officials should respect state laws on medical marijuana.  In last year’s election, Alaska became the first ‘red’ state to legalize marijuana for all adults 21 and over, while voters in Guam — which is quite conservative politically, and home to a significant U.S. military presence — resoundingly approved medical marijuana, confirming its broad support across the political spectrum.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

  • Ron G.

    It’s not as surprising as it might sound. Utah brand of conservatism is pretty libertarian, so there’s a strong urge to limit government restrictions. One of the polygamist sects in southern Utah tried to legalize weed a few years back, mostly just to thumb their noses at local authorities and imply some form of sovereignty. On top of that, Utahns, and Mormons in particular, are big into herbal remedies. You can thank Senator Orrin Hatch for the recent scandal over herbal remedies which, when tested, turned out to contain few of the actual herbs indicated, because Hatch was instrumental in deregulating that industry, which has a stronghold in Utah County, the most Mormon part of the state.

    So, Mormons basically want to be left alone with their herbs. I can relate.

  • matt

    It will be interesting to see how the LDS church changes their views on marijuana use. I stopped attending church because they don’t believe marijuana is good for you. I also got kicked out of BYU for using marijuana. Facts that will prove how uninspired their church really is.

    • Ricky

      Were there many tokers at BYU, or do they keep it on the way down low? I suspect they’ll come around. I just wish it was for the right reasons. Thinking money may be driving this more than compassion.

      • matt

        Its hidden… just like everything else, so I’m not sure. Plus that was over a decade ago when the drug war was in full swing. I’m sure there are fewer tokers at BYU than most colleges. Thankfully I have never gone to jail for pot in Utah. We have some compassionate judges at least.

  • Alex

    I live in utah and my husband and I both smoke for medical reasons. This is definitely a step in the right direction but key things about this bill were left out. The bill only allows oil, not herb. Curently you can be perscribed low thc, high cbd oil for epilepsy only. This bill will allow oils with thc in them and there’s fairly strict qualifying conditions (i) “Qualifying illness” means:
    72 (i) acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
    73 (ii) cancer;
    74 (iii) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
    75 (iv) Alzheimer’s disease;
    76 (v) post-traumatic stress disorder;
    77 (vi) glaucoma; or
    78 (vii) a medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces, for a
    79 specific patient, one or more of the following:
    80 (A) cachexia or physical wasting and malnutrition associated with chronic disease;
    81 (B) persistent muscle spasms, including spasms caused by multiple sclerosis;
    82 (C) seizures, including seizures caused by epilepsy;
    83 (D) severe nausea; or
    84 (E) severe pain.
    Also the whole attidude surrounding medicinal marijuana by mormons isn’t as positive as some may think. There is a lot of worry this will lead to less restrictiins and legalizing recreational and that scares the shit out of them.

  • khh

    Must read =>

    “DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/02/dea-warns-of-stoned-rabbits-if-utah-passes-medical-marijuana/