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Utah Legalized Medical Marijuana, But Not Really!

Lawmakers Really Need to do Some More Due Diligence When Creating Bills

It is rather stymieing hearing lawmakers discuss how they want to see how legalized marijuana works out in other states before committing to legalization themselves, but then they never actually research what other states have done with legal marijuana. Finding out that Utah legalized medical marijuana may have been great news to advocates until they discovered that lawmakers actually created two bills and that both had to pass in order for medical marijuana to be truly legalized. The problem is that one of the bills did not pass, and so medical marijuana is not actually legal in Utah.

Utah has Nevada on one side of it and Colorado on the other side. Both of Utah’s neighboring states made medical marijuana legal first and then later legalized recreational cannabis. It was a long process which should have given officials in Utah plenty of research material to make Utah’s process to legalize cannabis as smooth as possible. Instead, Rep. Brad Daw decided to make it more complicated and so Utah still has some work to do.

Under a surprise failure on the floor, lawmakers voted in favor of the bill that would make Utah the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana, but then failed to pass a companion bill that would have set up the framework for creating marijuana products for those patients.

Representatives narrowed and then voted to pass HB195, which would have restricted access to approved medical marijuana products to terminally ill patients with a recommendation from their doctor to try marijuana if they have six months or less to live.

Then came the vote on HB197, which would have instructed the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to write rules on growing marijuana and contract with a third party grower to grow the plant. The agency would then act as warehouser and distributor of the plant that the federal government still considers illegal. The bill failed.

“One is dependent on the other,” said the bills’ sponsor, Rep. Brad Daw, an Orem Republican who questioned his decision to file two bills separately instead of one after one failed. “Maybe it was the wrong policy, maybe it was the wrong decision.”

HB 195 allows terminally ill patients to access medical marijuana, but nobody else. It is a restrictive bill anyways, so to say that medical marijuana is legal in Utah is a stretch in the first place. Do you think that the only reason marijuana is being considered in Utah is because officials are worried about losing out on revenue that is now going to Nevada and Colorado?

read more at sltrib.com

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