Utah Legislature Passes Compromise Medical Marijuana Law

As part of an October compromise between advocates and opponents of the 2018 medical marijuana ballot initiative, Utah lawmakers replaced the voter-approved law with a more restrictive policy

In a special session today, the Utah Legislature enacted a compromise medical marijuana law that will replace the ballot initiative approved by voters on Election Day.

The compromise bill is more restrictive than the law established by Proposition 2, which was supported by the Marijuana Policy Project and Utah advocates. In early October, supporters and opponents of Proposition 2 reached an agreement whereby both sides de-escalated their campaign operations and agreed on a compromise medical marijuana law that would be enacted regardless of the outcome of the ballot initiative vote.

The compromise bill makes a number of changes to Proposition 2, including no home cultivation for patients, a smaller number of dispensaries, and a requirement that dispensaries employ pharmacists who recommend dosages.

“This bill is undoubtedly inferior to the law enacted by voters in November”, says Matthew Schweich, Desputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “However, Proposition 2 would very likely have been defeated without the compromise deal, which prevented an onslaught of opposition spending. Advocates made the responsible decision to negotiate with opponents and ensure that patients were not left without any access to medical cannabis.”

Schweich continues; “While this legislation is not ideal, it is a major step forward for Utah and it will help patients and families across the state. This law will enable patients to safely and legally access the medical cannabis treatments they need, and it can be improved upon in future legislative sessions. It’s now time to move forward, and we call on the state government to implement this new policy without delay.”

Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for numerous websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in Los Angeles, and can be reached at Watkins.MarijuanaHerald@Gmail.com.

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