Sponsored by

VGoodiez 420EDC
  • Welcome to VaporAsylum! Please take a moment to read our RULES and introduce yourself here.
  • Need help navigating the forum? Find out how to use our features here.
  • Did you know we have lots of smilies for you to use?

Law Utah


Well-Known Member
Utah Group Files 2018 Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Activists who say they are tired of waiting for Utah’s conservative Legislature to pass a broad medical marijuana law launched an effort Monday to ask voters next year to pass the law, a move that would bypass state lawmakers.

People with chronic, painful conditions who want to use cannabis legally in the state plus other members of a group called the Utah Patients Coalition said lawmakers’ rejection of broad medical marijuana laws for three years in a row prompted their ballot initiative drive.

“The time has come to help alleviate the pain and suffering of the most vulnerable in our society, with the help of a medicine that works for them,” said Utah Patients Coalition director DJ Schanz.

Utah passed an extremely limited medical marijuana law several years ago that allows those with severe epilepsy to use a cannabis extract called cannabidiol if they obtain it from other states. Lawmakers and Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert have said they worry a broader medical marijuana law could lead to prescriptions filled for people who feign illness so they can get the drug and use it recreationally.

“We took him to every doctor. We were given every pharmaceutical and nothing helped.”
Desiree Hennessy, parent
The Utah Patients Coalition wants Utah to join 29 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico in allowing broader medical use of marijuana with dispensaries, different plant strains and methods of consuming it.

Schanz spoke with reporters at the state Capitol as about 40 people held signs that read “Cancer” and “Epilepsy.” Among the group were parents with children in wheelchairs and therapy dogs. Another attendee was former state Sen. Mark Madsen, a Republican who unsuccessfully tried to get a medical cannabis bill passed before he retired from the Legislature last year.

Madsen, who has spoken in the past of his back pain, opiate overdose and use of marijuana, stood nearby holding a sign that read “chronic pain.”

Desiree Hennessy, a backer of the initiative from the small northern Utah town of Avon, wants to try to use cannabis to alleviate the suffering of her 23-year-old son Hestevan Hennessy, who has cerebral palsy, nerve pain and other conditions that leave him screaming in agonizing pain.


Desiree Hennessy cries during the Utah Patients Coalition news conference at the Utah State Capitol Monday, June 26, 2017, in Salt Lake City. A group of activists and Utah residents with chronic conditions has launched a ballot initiative to ask voters next year to pass a broad medical marijuana law. Her adopted son Hestevan has cerebral palsy and suffers from chronic nerve pain, seizure disorder, and life-threatening complications from his medication. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
“We took him to every doctor. We were given every pharmaceutical and nothing helped,” said Hennessy, who stopped to cry as she spoke about her son, who sat nearby in a wheelchair softly moaning.

Candi Huff of the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper spoke about her 18-year-old daughter Madison Huff, whose epilepsy has not responded to medications. Huff said her daughter began using cannabidiol several years ago under Utah’s limited law and her seizures eased, but she wants her daughter to be able to try other versions of cannabis to determine whether it will help reduce the seizures more.

Huff, who is also the president of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, said other Utah residents with epilepsy who have not found cannabidiol effective and go to other states to get marijuana where it is legal for medicinal purposes.

Utah only allows patients to use cannabidiol if they receive approval from the state health department after demonstrating that at least three other methods of treatment have not helped.

The medical marijuana law proposed by the ballot initiative would set up state-regulated cannabis growing and dispensing operations. It would allow the drug to be consumed in edible forms like candy, in topical forms like lotions or balms, as an oil or in electronic cigarettes.

Smoking cannabis would not be allowed in a tactical political move that the organizers said represented a compromise to try to make the initiative more palatable for voters.

Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber said her organization has concerns about the initiative and plants to speak out against it as the effort moves forward.

“That’s not that way that you determine what is medicine,” McOmber said.

Utah Patients Coalition filed the ballot initiative with the state elections office and hopes to start gathering 115,000 voter signatures this summer needed to qualify the issue to be put before voters on ballots.
Nearly 3 in 4 Utah Voters Support Medical Marijuana, Survey Finds

Utah’s neighbors to the west, south, and east all have legal, regulated cannabis markets for both medical and adult use. Now a new poll suggests that Utah voters want to legal medical marijuana in their state, too.

The Utah Patients Coalition survey, published Monday, found that of 402 Utah voters polled, 73% support a medical cannabis ballot initiative. Only about 20% were opposed, and 7% remain undecided.

Voters from nearly all demographic groups expressed support for medical marijuana, the survey found, included 64% of Republican voters and 63% of active voters who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Older voters in Utah supported medical cannabis legalization at an even higher rate, with 75% of voters 50 and older in favor. And when asked about chronic pain, 72% of all respondents said they felt cannabis should be available as treatment.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

The Utah Patients Coalition is also behind a prospective ballot initiative announced in Salt Lake City this week that would legalize medical cannabis in the state. Supporters say they’re frustrated by the Legislature’s inaction despite broad support for legalization from constituents.

Christine Stenquist, a campaign spokesperson for Utah Patients Coalition, said in a statement that Utah needs to adopt medicinal marijuana rules as soon as possible, especially in the face of the deadly opioid epidemic that has taken a heavy toll in Utah.

“The opioid epidemic has already taken too many lives in our state,” Stenquist said. “We should allow medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain for two urgent reasons. First, medical cannabis is a more effective treatment for many patients. And second, it can potentially play a significant role in reducing the rate of opioid overdose deaths in Utah.”

The poll, conducted in February, was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national cannabis reform organization. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an opinion research firm, conducted the survey.

Utah? Who knew!
LDS Church weighs in on medical marijuana ballot initiative in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could have a significant impact on the upcoming ballot initiative for medical marijuana in Utah.

The LDS Church, which weighs in on moral and social issues, has spoken out against recreational cannabis ballot initiatives in the past. Asked by FOX 13 about the medical marijuana ballot initiative filed in Utah, a church spokesman responded with a statement:

"Lawmakers across the country have wrestled with whether to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety.

During the 2017 legislative session, a bill was passed that appropriately authorized further research of the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana. The difficulties of attempting to legalize a drug at the state level that is illegal under Federal law cannot be overstated.

Accordingly, we believe that society is best served by requiring marijuana to go through further research and the FDA approval process that all other drugs must go through before they are prescribed to patients."

The Utah Patients Coalition, which is running the campaign for the medical marijuana ballot initiative, told FOX 13 it would not comment on the LDS Church's statement. Instead, it would focus on persuading voters to approve the ballot initiative in 2018.

Internal polling released by the group claims 73% of Utah voters have said they would vote in favor of the ballot initiative. Presumably, that would include Mormon voters.

Supporters told FOX 13 they hoped the LDS Church would not be vocally opposed to the ballot initiative.

"I'm hoping they stay neutral on this issue because this is a harm-reduction tool," said Christine Stenquist, the head of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), which supports the ballot question.

"We're talking about saving lives. Utah truly does have an opioid crisis."

Supporters of the medical marijuana ballot question include a number of people with medical issues and patient advocates. They said they have pushed for it after years of inaction by the Utah State Legislature.

The Utah Patients Coalition filed the paperwork on Monday to begin the process to get it before voters on the 2018 ballot. They will next hold public meetings across the state and, if paperwork checks out with the Lt. Governor's Office, they can begin gathering nearly 115,000 signatures to put it on the ballot.

Former Sen. Mark Madsen, L-Saratoga Springs, said Monday patients who are LDS are put in a tough spot when it comes to medical cannabis. In some states it's legal, but in Utah it is not.

"If I stay here, I not only run the risk of being a criminal but my status with my church is dubious," he said. "Can I or can I not go to the temple? Those decisions, I think, are unfair to put a member of the church in."

Madsen said he remains hopeful that as the ballot initiative moves forward, the LDS Church stays out of it.

"I think I have about as much business running the church as they do running the state," he said.

Oh, wonderful. Now we are letting our medical policy decisions be influenced by religious organizations....and in particular this religious organization which is definitely NOT known for progressive or scientific thinking.
Founder of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute Supports Medical Marijuana
he founder of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), Jon Huntsman Sr. has announced that he is a robust advocate of medical marijuana.

Huntsman Sr. voiced his unambiguous support during a sit-down interview with Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 News. “I’m a very strong advocate for medical marijuana,” Huntsman explained. “I think some folks have it terribly confused with smoking marijuana.”

A founder and primary sponsor of the state-of-the-art cancer hospital at the University of Utah, Huntsman first started HCI in 1993 with a $10 million donation. Two years later, Huntsman bestowed another $100 million upon the Utah-based cancer institute.

A repeat survivor of cancer who is currently plagued with Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Huntsman explained that he can “take the pain” but he won’t “take the opioids.”

“It’s really severe pain, sometimes you just want to scream out at night because of joints not working and things just breaking down on you.”

Candid, honest, and ready to experiment, the senior Huntsman and the Utah Patient’s Coalition now have something in common – their support of real medical marijuana.

Historically resistant of whole plant medicinal cannabis, Utah passed limited medical marijuana legislation in 2014. A CBD oil-only state, the therapeutic oil is restricted to qualifying patients with severe forms of epilepsy. Because CBD extract is currently not available in Utah, patients seeking the therapeutic oil must run the legal gauntlet and purchase their meds in a different medical marijuana state.

While effectual legislation has thus far been restrained thanks to some political connections within the LDS church, Utah’s Republican Gov. Herbert has repeatedly voiced concerns the system would be circumvented by the unscrupulous.

Gov. Herbert explained during a 2016 monthly news conference, “I’m not interested in having Dr. Feelgood out there say, ‘Yeah, yeah, que pasa, you know, here’s your doobie for the day and you’ll feel better.’” Pushing back on Gov. Herbert’s misguided portrayal, the Utah Patients Coalition is currently working on obtaining the necessary signatures to qualify a new MMJ initiative for the 2018 ballot.

Per a June 26th poll, 73% of surveyed Utahns support a statewide ballot measure to “allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana as treatment for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other serious illnesses.” In search of approximately 115,000 valid signatures from 26 of the 29 districts in Utah, the coalition has until April 15, 2018 to gather the required support.

Utah Medical Marijuana Poll

When asked by the inquisitive reporter whether or not Mr. Huntsman had ever experimented with medical marijuana, the philanthropist answered that he had not. Asked if he would like to try it, the 80-year-old business tycoon replied simply, “Sure, I’d love to. I’ve had such severe pain at times and the opioids haven’t done the job.”

A major force in the Mormon Church, perhaps Huntsman’s support will make the difference in 2018.

If I recall correctly, Huntsman is basically a force within conservative political circles. Just goes to show, MMJ is an issue that cuts across traditional party lines (but not enough IMO).

Utah: Gov. Herbert Forecasts Medical Marijuana Legalization

While Utah Gov. Gary Herbert didn’t exactly predict when “they” would legalize medical marijuana, he did inform a middle school classroom full of kids, “I think it’s going to happen.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Herbert received a rather intriguing question from an inquisitive student at Riverton middle school. There to support the student’s hard work and civil engagement, Herbert provided a rare opportunity for a small group of future voters to ask a broad-spectrum of thoughtful questions.

Queried by the teens about Utah’s swelling population, and its residual urban sprawl, Gov. Herbert was eventually asked by one inquiring mind whether the state would legalize medical marijuana.

Ben Winslow, a Fox 13 Now reporter, was on hand for Wednesday’s Q&A.

After declaring that medical marijuana will eventually be legalized in the Beehive State, Winslow tried to ask Gov. Herbert an important follow-up question: would medical marijuana be legalized through the legislative process or through the passage of this November’s medical marijuana ballot initiative?

Deferring to science and citing federal concerns, the governor clarified his position:

“Let’s get the science done, the research done, have it as a controlled substance prescribed by a doctor, and certified by a pharmacist as a controlled medical substance. I think that’s the way to go.”

Sadly for those suffering from a host of debilitating diseases, cannabis is currently categorized as a Schedule I narcotic within the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Which seems more than a little odd to the angry mob of sick and suffering voters in the Beehive State when the United States Department of Health and Human Services has a patent on the plant’s cannabinoids as a treatment for a host of neurological diseases.

Up for debate over the last two years by the Utah legislature, the state’s elected officials have anxiously pondered the medical marijuana question while ignoring the will of the people.

According to an October 2017 poll performed by Dan Jones and Associates and published by the Salt Lake Tribune, an overwhelming majority (75%) of Utahns support the manufacturing, prescription, and sale of cannabis products in nonsmokable forms. But so far, Utah’s lawmakers have resisted acknowledging the wisdom of the request.

In need of 113,143 signatures before April 15, the Utah Patients Coalition announced Jan. 3 they have gathered 85,000 of the necessary signatures.

Utah’s attempt to legalize medical marijuana was first rejected by the Utah State Senate in 2015 – by a single vote. Undeterred by that narrow defeat, in 2016, two bills were written to legalize medical marijuana in the Beehive State. Senate Bill 89, which was authored by Sen. Evan J. Vickers (R-72nd District) and Rep. Brad M. Daw (R-60th District), and Senate Bill 73 authored by Sen. Mark B. Madsen (Libertarian-13th District) and Rep. Gage Froerer (R-8th District).

While both bills were passed by Utah’s Senate, S.B. 73 was ultimately defeated by the Mormon church’s opposition, and S.B. 89 ran out of time when Utah’s lawmakers adjourned the 2016 legislative session without passing it.
"allow people with certain medical conditions to get a card and use the drug in edible forms like candy, in topical forms like lotions or balms, as an oil or in electronic cigarettes— but not for smoking."

Ok, smoking is bad for you....but these restrictions most often really mean no raw flower.

And so what.....this is adult life style choices and I'm sick to my core of the damn nanny state telling me what my personal behavior must be (not should, but regulated, legislated, MUST).

Often the justification of imposing these types of restrictions is the shared risk pool for health insurance. In that case, we need to outlaw fat people and the junk food many of them eat. Half this country looks like blimps, including a number of the law makers involved in these types of restrictions, and I warrant that their impact to the nation's health care cost far outweigh the impact of a med patient smoking or vaping .25 - .5 g a day (more or less).

Its all self-righteous, hypocritical BS.

New Marijuana Laws in Utah Won’t Stop Ballot Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — It will be legal next year in Utah for approved farmers to grow medical marijuana for researchers and dying patients under one of several new legislative measures signed by Gov. Gary Herbert this month.

The state will also monitor the safety of marijuana extract oils being sold in stores as part of a package of legislation that Rep. Brad Daw, the Republican who sponsored four of the five measures, said Monday moves the state forward at the right pace.

Advocates of broader marijuana legislation disagree.

Utah OKs Limited Medical Marijuana Law for Terminally Ill

They say they plan to get an initiative on the ballot in November that would allow voters to approve a state-regulated marijuana growing and dispensing operation to allow people with certain medical conditions to get a card and use the drug in edible forms like candy, in topical forms like lotions or balms, as an oil or in electronic cigarettes— but not for smoking.

Christine Stenquist, president of a group called Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, said she applauds the move to regulate the sale of the oil extract that is used by people with severe epilepsy, but that most of the legislation is hollow.

“It isn’t actually moving the ball forward, it’s delaying the conversation,” Stenquist said. “It’s smoke and mirrors.”

She said the group already has 117,000 verified signatures for the ballot initiative— more than the 113,000 needed by the April 15 deadline.

Under one of the new laws, farmers vetted by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will be allowed starting next year to grow marijuana that would be converted into forms such as pills, gel caps and oils, Daw said.

Nearly 3 in 4 Utah Voters Support Medical Marijuana, Survey Finds

It can be used for research or for medical use by dying patients who, under another new law billed as the “right to try” legislation, can get medical marijuana with a doctor’s note saying they have six months or less to live.

Daw is cautious about approving any use of full-strength marijuana, which he worries is addictive, but he said the risk is low in this case. “What worse thing is going to happen to them?” he said.

The benefit is two-fold, he said: It may help ease their pain while helping the state gather information about how best to use medical marijuana.

Stenquist detests what she considers a ridiculous law, which she dubs the “right to try if you promise to die” measure.

Another measure will allow for the growth and sale of industrial hemp by state-licensed companies. That movement got a big boost Monday from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he’ll introduce legislation to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and have it removed from the list of controlled substances.

Mitch McConnell Wants Congress to Legalize Hemp

The state will also set up a registration system that will require manufacturers of an oil called cannabidiol or CBD, a derivative of cannabis, to be registered to legally sell in Utah stores, said Jack Wilbur, spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The goal is to ensure no harmful substances reach consumers.

The CBD oil has a chemical that may fight seizures and is designed not to produce a high.

The state passed a law in 2014 that allowed parents of children with severe epilepsy to use the oils to provide to their children. In the beginning, most parents traveled to Colorado to get the oil. But now an unknown number of stores, including smoke shops and health food stores, are selling the oils, Stenquist said.

A final measure provides funding for one staffer at state board that reviews research on CBD, and allows the board to review research from around the world.

The Biology of Cannabis vs. Opioids for Pain Relief

“I think we moved the ball down the field,” Daw said about the measures. “A lot of people tell me I moved too far. A lot of people tell me I’m not going far enough. I say, OK, I’ve probably hit the sweet spot.”

Daw said the ballot initiative would make the dispensing and use of marijuana far too wide open.

Stenquist counters that Utah’s slow approach is depriving people with chronic illnesses the chance at life-changing relief. The ballot initiative would create a system where people can get clean, tested marijuana and work with their doctors to see what helps them, she said.

“Patients won’t have to go to a parking lot to get a bag,” Stenquist said.
No, not in Mormon and Republican Utah! Say it ain't so, Joe. hahaha What a surprise, yeah. All of the usual suspects taking all of the usual stances and positions. Its some kind of bad comedy.

Utah Governor Says He Will Oppose Medical Marijuana Initiative

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he will work to oppose a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The Republican governor said in a statement Thursday that he believe the proposal has major flaws and lacks safeguards for the growing and distribution of marijuana that “would potentially open the door to recreational use.”

Utah Lawmakers Turn Timid on Medical Marijuana Plans

Herbert says that the law he recently signed allowing farmers to grow marijuana for use by researchers and patients with less than six months to live is a careful step to allow more research on marijuana’s medical effects.

Frustrated advocates say those living with chronic conditions need access to the drug and are preparing to ask Utah voters this November to allow broader use of marijuana, along with state-regulated growing and dispensing.

New Marijuana Laws in Utah Won’t Stop Ballot Initiative

Initiative Backers Slam Herbert ‘Scare Tactic’
A group pushing a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Utah says the governor’s opposition to the plan is one more example of “politicians standing between patients and their physicians.”

Utah Patients Coalition director DJ Schanz says Herbert’s comments opposing the initiative and warning it will open the door for recreational use of marijuana are merely a “scare tactic that has no basis in truth.”

Schanz said in a statement that neither the Legislature nor governor should undermine the voice of voters.

Latest numbers indicate medical marijuana will be on the November ballot in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Medical marijuana will likely be on the ballot in Utah in November.

New numbers obtained from the Lt. Governor’s Office show the Utah Patients Coalition has met the threshold for signatures required to put the question of medical marijuana to Utah voters this November.

The numbers indicate the group has validated a sufficient number of signatures in 27 of Utah’s 29 senate districts. They only needed 26 districts to qualify and a minimum of 113,000 signatures.

The group turned in more than 200,000 signatures.

“The Utah Patients Coalition is excited to have achieved a huge first step in the fight to help patients gain access to the treatments and medicine they need,” DJ Schanz, Director of the Utah Patients Coalition, told Fox 13 News Friday.

Christine Stenquist of TRUCE also responded: “The will of the people is being heard loud and clear. Today is an important milestone on the road to safe access to medicinal cannabis for Utah’s patients. It’s an emotional day for those who have fought for and hoped so desperately for relief from their suffering.”

The Lt. Governor’s Office will officially certify which ballot initiatives have made the cut by May 15.

Fox 13 News will update this story as more details emerge.

Utah’s ‘right to try’ medical marijuana bill is officially in effect

The measure allows terminally ill patients to see if medical marijuana is an effective treatment for them.

Utah’s ‘Right to Try’ medical marijuana bill officially went into effect yesterday. But under the new law, only terminally ill patients will have access to medicinal cannabis.

House Bill 195 (HB195) allows terminally ill patients to possess and use marijuana for medical use. The measure adds medicinal cannabis to the auspices of 2015’s Right to Try Act. That law allows patients with a terminal illness to use medical treatments not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HB195 officially adds medical marijuana as one of the experimental treatments allowed under the Right to Try Act.

The Utah Senate easily passed HB 195 on March 7 by a vote of 19-3. The House of Representatives then approved the measure 40-26 on March 20 and sent it to Governor Gary Herbert, who signed the bill into law.

Companion Bill Also Becomes Law

Another new measure, House Bill 197 (HB197), also went into effect yesterday. A companion to HB195, this law authorizes the establishment of a medicinal cannabis cultivation program in the state.

However, HB197 had a more difficult road to approval by the state legislature. Like HB195, it also cleared the Senate without difficulty, by a margin of 20-5.

In the House, bills must receive at least 38 votes (a majority of the body’s 75 members) to pass. HB197 failed to receive approval on an initial vote, with a tally in favor by 36-34 votes.

But a motion to reconsider was approved, resuscitating the measure. Before a second vote, Rep. Brad Daw, the sponsor of both HB195 and HB197, told his fellow lawmakers that patients need both bills.

“This bill becomes the way to supply a genuine cannabis medicine for both those programs. We need to pass this bill if we want to have patients the ability to try both under Right to Try and under research,” Daw said.

New Law May Be Irrelevant Soon

But the two laws that went into effect yesterday may soon be a moot point. A much broader initiative legalizing medical marijuana appears to be heading for November’s ballot.

Organizers of the campaign for the Utah Medical Cannabis Act have already turned in enough signatures to qualify for the election. The Utah Patients Coalition gathered more than 40,000 signatures in excess of the 113,143 necessary.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, if successful, would allow patients with a list of specific serious medical conditions to use medical marijuana. The bill also allows for the creation of a legalized cultivation and distribution infrastructure and regulatory framework to manage it. The bill limits patients to two ounces of marijuana or 10 grams of THC or CBD per 14 day period. Smoking marijuana and driving under the influence would still be prohibited. Far more patients would qualify for medical marijuana under the initiative.

However, the measure has not officially qualified for the ballot just yet. And an anti-pot group is hoping to keep it that way. Drug Safe Utah has begun a drive to convince people who have signed petitions to now remove their names from petitions. If enough signers change their minds, the initiative could fail to qualify for the ballot after all.
Wow, just wow!

Strange Tactics Emerge in Utah’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Fight

Strange Tactics Emerge in Utah’s Medical Marijuana Legalization Fight
Peter Hecht
May 10, 2018

The canvasser showed up at the doorstep of a Utah voter and began speaking in a in a sing-song voice.

“We’re talking to voters…about the Utah Cannabis Act,” she started, before dropping her voice for dramatic effect. “Were you aware that what you signed was not (for) marijuana. It was cannabis.

'Were you aware that what you signed was not for marijuana? It was for cannabis.'
Prohibition activist, Salt Lake City
The resident paused. She fumbled with her cell phone. It was tilted sideways, apropos it seemed for this sideways conversation she was recording at her front door.

The voter had signed a petition for the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, a proposed November 2018 ballot initiative that would legalize a medical marijuana economy in the conservative state by permitting up to 15 dispensaries, including up to eight in Salt Lake City. They would be allowed to sell cannabis oils and buds, the latter for heating in dry herb vaporizers. The initiative would ban the sale of smokable joints.

Signature Removal Campaign
Utah Patients Coalition, a medical cannabis advocacy group with campaign contributions from the Marijuana Policy Project, announced in April that it had submitted 200,000 signatures to qualify the initiative. The office of Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox has since unofficially verified more than 155,000 signatures. If he certifies that at least 113,143 are properly registered Utah voters, the measure goes to the ballot.

'People are sending canvassers out to lie. That’s very concerning to us.'
Desiree Hennessy, director of community lobbying, TRUCE
But now Utah cannabis advocates charge that door-to-door canvassers are engaging in a disinformation campaign to convince voters to sign paperwork authorizing removal of their signatures from initiative petitions to hopes of keeping the measure from qualifying. Tensions continue to mount in Utah’s cannabis politics clash.

The alleged tactics of anti-initiative canvassers, including in the shaky video now being widely shared by initiative supporters, have stoked a public relations backlash against the Utah Medical Association. The group is leading opposition to the initiative, along with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, representing the state’s politically potent Mormon voters.

Utah Medical Group Behind It?
The Medical Association recently unveiled an anti-initiative campaign called – Drug Safe Utah – to convince voters to withdraw their support. But now that marijuana isn’t cannabis video is being widely lampooned by initiative backers to discredit opponents and their tactics to reverse voter support for the measure.

In the nearly 12-minute clip, the voter seems stunned by what the canvasser has to say on her door step. The canvasser claims to be acting on behalf of the Medical Association as well as the local county clerk’s office. She also says she is a medical student from North Carolina who is volunteering to defeat the initiative.

The canvasser says the petitions were illegally gathered. Then she goes on to say that the state furtively rewrote the initiative – so that it doesn’t even say what voters think it does. She alternatively argues that it would imprison cancer patients for smoking cannabis or that the measure isn’t even needed for personal medical marijuana use.

Then there is the canvasser’s opening and closing flourishes – suggesting that voters are being hoodwinked because, somehow, marijuana isn’t cannabis:

“We’re being told that the petition I have that shows that you signed…is a marijuana bill,” she wraps up. “But there is no such thing on the ballot for a marijuana bill – there is a difference between marijuana and cannabis.

“…We’re just doing our job and just making sure you understand that.”

In the video, the voter looks to break off the conversation and close the door.

“I don’t understand anything about it anymore, but I appreciate your time,” she tells the canvasser. She refuses to sign the form to remove her signature from the initiative petition.

The video was widely shared on social media by a Utah cannabis advocacy group, TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education.)

“We’re really concerned,” Desiree Hennessy, TRUCE’s director of community lobbying told Leafly. “We’ve got (nearly) 160,000 verified signatures for this initiative and, now, people are sending canvassers out to lie. That’s very concerning to us.”

Hennessy, who spoke to the woman who made the video, said her group has talked to several voters who got unusual pitches from paid canvassers seeking to get them to drop their support. She said the anti-initiative canvassers wore “Drug Safe Utah” buttons for the Utah Medical Association campaign.

The Association’s vice president of communications, Mark Fotheringham, told Leafly that the canvasser in the video – whoever she was – wasn’t operating off of any script authorized by Utah Medical Association or Drug Safe Utah.

“This video is circulating of a woman whose face is never revealed,” Fotheringham said. “She doesn’t represent the Medical Association or anything associated with the UMA. Her rambling statements have nothing to do with the talking points Drug Safe Utah supplied to legitimate people.

“We have gone through this many times, to try to figure out who this is, to ask her to stop disrupting our campaign.”

‘Dear Neighbor’ Letters
As part of its signature removal campaign, Drug Safe Utah is also sending out “Dear Neighbor” letters targeting voters who signed initiative petitions. One letter, obtained by Leafly, warns residents of Cache County, Utah, including the city of Logan, that many people who signed the petitions were misled into doing so.

'Your name is on a list' of voters who signed a petition to put the measure on the ballot, neighbors were told.
“We are a group of your neighbors and we are writing today because your name is on the lieutenant governor’s list of registered voters who signed the petition to legalize marijuana under the ‘Utah Medical Cannabis Act’ initiative,” the missive reads. It goes onto say: “The marijuana initiative is a 28-page legal document pushed by a national marijuana industry group,” declaring: “Most people signed the initiative based on whatever petitions workers told them in a brief conversation. In fact, some people whose names appear on the petition don’t remember signing it at all.”

In kind, cannabis legalization advocates are blasting out photos on social media of talking points allegedly given to some anti-initiative canvassers.

In one such photo, a script for someone claiming to be with the Utah Medical Association, suggests urging young voters to remove their names from petitions because – if the initiative passes – “you can have weed, but it still would be completely illegal to smoke it.”

The script’s pitch to older voters suggested that “just about anyone would be able to get a (medical cannabis) card and not only grow their own plants but store a much as they want in their house. Drug trafficking would skyrocket.”

Drug Safe Utah: Not Us
Both the Medical Association and Drug Safe Utah disavowed the script, saying none of the talking points were authorized.

Fotheringham said the UMA’s central opposition to the initiative focus on its believe that the medicinal measure is a cover for legalizing recreational cannabis use in Utah. He says the measure lacks clear rules for doctors recommending cannabis and, thus, is a political Trojan Horse to pave the way for eventual legal adult use, such as in neighboring Nevada and Colorado.

“We’re concerned about a lot of things,” Fotheringham. “This initiative grants total immunity to doctors and others who recommend marijuana. We just think this is an open invitation to unauthorized practices.”

The Medical Association opposition to the initiative is buttressed by the Mormon church, which declared: “The proposed Utah marijuana initiative would compromise the health and safety of Utah communities.”

High or Not, a Good Idea
Perhaps the most pointed – and colorful – opposition has come from the Next Generation Freedom Fund, a conservative Utah policy group. “The truth is the Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative is a ruse being perpetrated by Utah libertarians and radicalized potheads across the country,” wrote Next Generation president Paul Mero in a op-ed that spared few pot puns in blasting the measure.

Opponents paint the medical marijuana initiative as 'a ruse being perpetrated by Utah libertarians and radicalized potheads.'
“The D.C. lobbyists at the Marijuana Policy Project, old hippies at NORML and our own liberty-loving kooks…feign a non-existent morality – some pot-induced moral code that only consuming marijuana will appease,” Mero went on. “Let me be as blunt as I can: You must be high to think this initiative is a good idea.”

Among those thinking the initiative is a good idea is Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gil. He recently broke ranks with other law enforcement officials in offering his endorsement. “This is not about recreational marijuana, that is not what I support,” he said. “But I will advocate for not criminalizing the conduct of parents, patients and family members for an act of compassion.”

Hennessy of TRUCE said the initiative, especially including its ban on selling joints, was written to appeal to cautious voters in a state new to cannabis politics.

“We do understand we are a very conservative state. We knew we were going to have opposition,” she said. “We tried to create a conservative ballot initiative, with no recreational pathway. It’s sad that people want to try to burn us down.”

With the campaign to void petition signatures continuing, she added, “On hand, we’re shocked every day with what they come up with. On the other hand, we knew we would have to buckle our seat belts.”
Frankly, I despise and hold in contempt any American who works against direct democracy, no matter their position on the issue at hand nor their political affiliation. Need to send these fuckers to somewhere else in the world (China, for example) so that they will appropriately appreciate the democracy we have here and cherish and protect as should all Americans. Screw these (@momofthegoons - we need a poop emoji...thought we had one??) :cursing::roto2qtemeto:

Utah Prohibitionists File Hail-Mary Motion to Stop Medical Marijuana Vote

SALT LAKE CITY — Medical marijuana opponents in Utah are filing an emergency motion asking a judge to block the proposal from the ballot, arguing it would break federal law.

The lawsuit filed Thursday is the latest in a fierce fight over the issue in conservative Utah. The measure appears poised to make it onto the November ballot despite a last-ditch signature-removal campaign.

Medical-marijuana supporters said Friday they’re dismayed at the lawsuit they called an attempt to stymie the democratic process.

If it passes, Utah would join 30 other states that allow medical marijuana. The proposal would let people with certain medical conditions use edible or topical forms of the drug, but not smoke it.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is among the groups that have criticized the idea.
If you look here, you'll see that there are a whole lot more emojis available to use than are in the drop down. :wink:

:shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit: :shit:
Way cool. How do you insert them...just copy/paste the :code: for the emoji into your post?
A victory for democracy. We will have to see if this is a victory for MMJ.

Despite strong opposition, Utah approves medical cannabis ballot initiative

Anti-cannabis groups' attempts to block the initiative failed, and advocates are now confident that Beehive State voters will approve the measure this fall.

Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox just approved the inclusion of a medical cannabis initiative on this year's state election ballot, despite numerous challenges from anti-marijuana groups. The Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) collected over 150,000 signatures in favor of allowing residents to vote on a comprehensive medical cannabis program this fall, but many important figures in state politics, including Gov. Gary Herbert, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Utah Medical Association have all come out against this initiative.

In order to qualify for inclusion on a Utah state election ballot, a petition must have over 113,000 voter signatures, and must also meet specific thresholds in 26 of the state's 29 Senate districts. The UPC exceeded this amount, bringing in over 150,000 signatures, but Drug Safe Utah, an anti-cannabis activist group supported by the Utah Medical Association and the DEA, hired a team of canvassers to try and convince locals to sign documents rescinding their support for the measure.

Drug Safe Utah failed to convince enough of the petition signers to withdraw their support, so they filed an emergency injunction to stop Lt. Gov. Cox from approving the petition, arguing that it should be rejected because cannabis is still federally illegal. Despite the lawsuit, Cox approved the medical cannabis initiative this week, counting a total of 153,894 final valid signatures and 27 out of 29 valid Senate districts. Opponents of the initiative were only able to get 1,425 signatures removed from the petition.

"Today's announcement is [a] victory for patients and their supporters — including our organization — who have worked hard for years to make sure Utah law does not treat patients as criminals," Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute, said in a statement.

"We are pleased to learn that our opposition's shady tactics to remove signatures and mislead the public about what's in the Utah Medical Cannabis Act were unsuccessful. We respect those with differing opinions, but believe it's time for Utah voters to take the issue into their own hands and change this unjust law that criminalizes our loved ones and neighbors."

"We are excited, but not surprised, by the Lieutenant Governor's conclusion to certify the more than 150,000 signatures gathered and place the Utah Medical Cannabis Act on the November 2018 ballot," UPC Director D.J. Schanz said to Fox 13 Salt Lake City. Schanz added that he expects that Beehive State voters "will side with patients as they vote in November to allow them to legally and safely access medical cannabis under doctor supervision and without the fear of criminalization."
Still, a number of prominent state politicians are continuing to voice their opposition to the ballot measure. In a recent Republican primary debate, rival U.S. Senate candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy both said that they planned to vote against the initiative, even though each said that they supported limited medical cannabis legalization.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney said he felt that the legalization of medical cannabis was necessary, but also argued that the Utah Medical Cannabis Act was "going to open the door for corner stores selling marijuana-laced brownies and gummy bears," rather than allowing "real" doctors to prescribe cannabis-based medicines.
Wow, how low are they willing to stoop.

Utah’s medical marijuana ballot measure would violate Mormons’ religious beliefs, opponents say in new court filing

Members of the campaign against Utah’s medical marijuana initiative filed a lawsuit in state court Wednesday, seeking to remove the issue from the November ballot.

It is their second lawsuit intending to block voters from weighing in on legalizing the federally illegal plant. Proponents of the measure called the latest filing a “wacky attempt” to stop Utahns from voting on it.

In the complaint, opponents of Proposition 2 — which would legalize marijuana for people with an array of health conditions — said the ballot initiative would tread on their freedom of religion.

The group says the measure would violate the religious beliefs of Walter J. Plumb, an attorney and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is the primary financier of the opposition campaign.

The lawsuit takes issue with a provision of the ballot measure that would prevent landlords from not renting to a medical marijuana cardholder, saying that could create an issue of Mormon property owners being forced into renting to people who use cannabis.

Plumb’s “religious beliefs include a strict adherence to a code of health which precludes the consumption and possession of mind-altering drugs, substances and chemicals, which includes cannabis and its various derivatives,” the complaint states.

The group cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving a Colorado bakery owner who declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying it would go against his religious beliefs. (The baker won and filed a similar suit Tuesday.)

“In the United States of America, members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs,” the complaint reads. “This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant.”

The group says the ballot measure seeks to create a “new class of citizen” that would have rights not afforded to other Utahns.

“The State of Utah is attempting to compel the speech of Utah landowners by suppressing their ability to speak out against cannabis use and consumption by only renting to tenants who do not possess or consume cannabis," the complaint reads, “and who support their viewpoints in opposition against cannabis possession and consumption.”

The measure’s proponents seemed gleeful with the latest filing.

“Not since Jim McMahon hit Clay Brown in the 1980 BYU Miracle Bowl has there been a crazier Hail Mary than this latest wacky attempt by the Utah Medical Association, the Eagle Forum, and the rest of the Drug Safe Utah to derail the voters ability to vote on this important issue,” DJ Schanz, director of the proponents' campaign, said in a statement.

The pass Schanz referred to was the one that brought LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University a victory over Southern Methodist University at the 1980 Holiday Bowl.

“These groups," Schanz’s statement continued, “should be ashamed of themselves for calling sick and afflicted patients morally repugnant in their latest lawsuit.”

The Mormon church, the predominant religion in Utah, doesn’t directly tell its members not to use marijuana in the health code known as the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits members from drinking alcohol or using tobacco. In the church’s later interpretation of the health code, it added mention of “illegal drugs.”

“When people purposefully take anything harmful into their bodies, they are not living in harmony with the Word of Wisdom,” the church says. “Illegal drugs can especially destroy those who use them. The abuse of prescription drugs is also destructive spiritually and physically.”

The church hasn’t come out directly against the initiative, though it hired a law firm to put out a seven-page interpretation of the measure in May. The law firm, Kirton McConkie, took note of the provision that would block landlords from not renting to marijuana cardholders, which was a large focus of Wednesday’s court filing. The church said that memo raised “grave concerns” about the initiative.

It did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Wednesday night.

The office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is named as a defendant because of his role as Utah’s elections chief, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.

The initiative’s opposition, which has been backed by the Utah Medical Association and Plumb, is asking the court for an injunction that would keep Proposition 2 off the ballot.

The measure seeks to legalize marijuana for people who have cancer, HIV, epilepsy, chronic pain and other health problems. Marijuana is legal in 31 states, including on a limited basis in Utah, where regulators are writing rules for a recently passed law.

Opponents have said the initiative resembles laws in states where marijuana is legal for all adults who are older than 21. They filed suit earlier this year but withdrew the filing.
Utah governor says it’s time to move forward on medical marijuana, whether ballot initiative passes or fails

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert still plans to vote “no” on Proposition 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

But he said Thursday that whether the ballot initiative passes or fails, Utah’s lawmakers need to work to make medical cannabis available to patients.

“If it doesn’t pass, then we need to get with the Legislature and come back into session and create a better law,” Herbert said. “If it does pass, we still have the same challenge, and that’s working with the Legislature and all the stakeholders."

He said the initiative’s proposed law is flawed, and would require cleanup work if approved by voters in November. But he added that he understands the frustration of patients who feel the state has moved too slowly to respond to the legitimate medical needs of residents.

“Either way,” Herbert said, “we’re going to get to the right spot, I believe.”

The governor’s comments came during his monthly televised news conference on KUED Channel 7. Herbert became animated discussing the issue of medical marijuana, criticizing Washington, D.C., for ignoring the debate for years while states moved forward in violation of federal law.

More than 30 states have now legalized medical marijuana.

It’s a sad commentary on the country, Herbert said, that members of Congress have “sat on their hindquarters” while marijuana remained a Schedule 1 drug, largely restricted from medical research and clinical trials.

“I’d like to see the federal government get out of the way,” he said. “Are they not paying attention in Washington? Evidently not.”

Among the potential amendments Herbert said he’d like to see if Proposition 2 succeeds is a restriction on the distribution process. The initiative calls for privately owned medical marijuana dispensaries, but Herbert said he’d prefer to see patients obtain their cannabis products through a state-run system.

“The dispensing ought to be done through our local health departments,” Herbert said. “We have one in every county.”

DJ Schanz, director of the Utah Patients Coaltion, said there’s a reason that most states with medical marijuana rely on dispensaries for distribution. There would be major legal ramifications, he said, in operating a system like Herbert suggested.

“You can’t have a state employee or state agency running anything that is federally illegal,” Schanz said. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Utah is not the leader on medical cannabis; it never will be.”

Schanz said the willingness of elected leaders like Herbert to consider and call for marijuana legislation shows the progress that’s been made on the issue in the last two years. The subject was dismissed in the past, Schanz said, where opponents of Proposition 2 are now talking about the minutiae of the initiative’s Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

“I think we’re making great headway with the governor,” Schanz said. “He’s not leading any parades, but at least he recognizes that there’s a parade going on.”

Asked about the likelihood of legislative amendments if the initiative passes, Schanz said the Legislature has the right to adjust the law, and that it was “a worry from the beginning” that alterations would be made.

“We have to be vigilant in watching out for patient interests,” he said, “not just getting this ballot initiative passed, but to continue to watch out that the Legislature doesn’t just completely gut the citizens' will.”

During his news conference, Herbert also touched on his future political plans. He has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020 but has continued fundraising efforts, including an upcoming $650-per-plate gala featuring the Utah Symphony. Some sponsorships are offered for donations of up to $25,000.

Herbert said he’d “never say never” to running again. But his current fundraising efforts are intended to support the Utah Republican Party, Herbert said, or potentially a candidate running to succeed him as governor.

“There’s a lot of different causes out there and candidates I’d like to support,” he said.
Well, ain't this something

Church leaders want Utah Legislature to legalize medical marijuana by year's end

Public support is reflection of President Russell M. Nelson's 'great empathy'

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints want the Utah Legislature to legalize medical marijuana in a special session by the end of 2018.

"We'd like to see it done this year, in a special session this year," said Marty Stephens, the church's director of community and governmental relations. "We'd like to see these people that have needs — truly medical needs — we'd like to see them be able to get access to these medications in an appropriate, safe manner."

But the church does not believe the medical marijuana initiative on November's ballot is the right way to make medical marijuana legal.

The church has joined a broad coalition of medical, law enforcement, educational, religious and other leaders who are urging Utahns to go to the ballot on Nov. 6 to reject Proposition 2. That medical marijuana initiative doesn't protect children, they say. They also say it doesn't resolve unintended consequences that have afflicted medical marijuana programs in other states like Washington and Colorado.

"Proposition 2 is not the right answer," said Elder Jack N. Gerard, executive director of the church's public affairs department. "We're hopeful that as people better understand what is in Proposition 2, that they will join with us to find an appropriate answer in a timely way."

But Latter-day Saint leaders also don't want pain-ridden patients to wait any longer for the relief that medical marijuana can provide.

"There is urgency," said Elder Gerard, 60, who became a General Authority Seventy in March. "This isn't 'let's wait till next year to have a conversation.' It needs to be dealt with soon. There's an urgency to accomplish this. … With this coalition, we're calling on public officials to act and act promptly."

Gov. Gary Herbert's spokesman, Paul Edwards, said the governor would consider a special session under the right circumstances, but believes it is too early to consider one.

"The governor only calls a special session when we have near-consensus on legislative action and language," Edwards said Sunday. "It would be premature to say anything about a special session at this point because there's no such bill that people are looking at right now."

Herbert announced his opposition to Proposition 2 back in March and said he would welcome an alternative. Edwards and others said several different proposals are at the conceptual stage.

"If we see something where we coalesce around what looks like good policy for the state, the governor is more than happy to take a look at that opportunity," Edwards said. "His primary concern is getting to good policy about medical marijuana that allows patients access to compounds that may help them while also protecting public health and public safety."

House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, agreed with the governor that he would have to wait to see a serious proposal before he could support a special session. King opposes Proposition 2 but said he plans to vote for it and work in the Legislature to fix it afterward.

"Proposition 2 is flawed, in some ways very flawed," he said, "but I'm voting for it because if we vote it down, I think the likelihood that the state Legislature will come back and put in place meaningful medical marijuana is slim and none."

King questioned whether a largely conservative Republican Legislature would pass a meaningful medical marijuana law immediately after voters rejected one in an initiative. He would need to see a specific, concrete proposal before mail-in ballots are sent to voters in a month. A special session of the Legislature would have to take place in November or the first week or two of December.

While King suggested the coalition take the law from one of the 30 states that has legalized medical marijuana and use it as a template, pointing out what it liked and didn't like, Elder Gerard said the church would like to see Utah set a national example with a bill that could be used to pass medical marijuana in any state.

Multiple supporters of the initiative have said they don't have much faith in the Utah Legislature. One of the main reasons they pushed for a ballot initiative is because they say the Legislature has failed to act meaningfully on medical marijuana issues.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often known as the Mormon church, has aligned itself with a broad coalition against Proposition 2 that includes the Utah Medical Association and other doctors, the Utah PTA and other parents and teachers, multiple law enforcement groups, the Utah Episcopal Diocese and the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake.

Elder Gerard said the church wants all parties to come together swiftly to craft a specific, serious, landmark proposal. He said it wants a solution like the landmark Utah Compact on immigration reform and the church's Fairness for All approach that was at the core of a 2015 Utah nondiscrimination law that extended protection to LGBT people in housing and employment while also protecting religious rights.

He expressed surprise that headlines have focused on the church's opposition to Proposition 2 and not the first-ever public statement that it accepts medicinal marijuana as a matter of church policy.

In fact, the church's urgent public support of medical marijuana has cheered Enedina Stanger Ramos, an active church member who suffers from chronic, excruciating pain due to multiple medical conditions.

"I don't understand why every (church) member isn't jumping up and shouting for joy and screaming, 'Hallelujah,'" she said. "This is exactly what we've been praying for and hoping for for so many years. This has been the plea that we've had for so long. It has been an answer to prayers."

Elder Gerard said the church's public support of medical marijuana use is a reflection of the leadership of President Russell M. Nelson, a renowned heart surgeon who became the faith's 17th president and prophet in January.

"It's really remarkable the Lord's chosen prophet at this time has great empathy and understanding," Elder Gerard said, adding that President Nelson understands human pain and suffering "not only as a loving, compassionate leader of the church, but he also understands it more from the medical perspective.

"That's why I think it really is quite significant that we've come out to support a broader coalition to work for appropriate, medicinal marijuana use with appropriate safeguards," he said.

31 comments on this story
The only time the church has publicly supported medical marijuana before now was in February 2016, when leaders said only that they had no objection to a Utah bill that would have legalized cannabidiol, or CBD oil. That bill failed.

While church leaders now support legalized medical marijuana, they say Proposition 2 is a serious threat to health and public safety, especially to Utah teens and children, because they believe it would make marijuana generally available for recreational use with few controls.
The church has joined a broad coalition of medical, law enforcement, educational, religious and other leaders who are urging Utahns to go to the ballot on Nov. 6 to reject Proposition 2. That medical marijuana initiative doesn't protect children, they say. They also say it doesn't resolve unintended consequences that have afflicted medical marijuana programs in other states like Washington and Colorado.
Holy shit.... who would have thunk it?

This is sure refreshing......
Groups reach tentative compromise over Utah medical marijuana policy

SALT LAKE CITY — Those behind the campaign to legalize medical marijuana and some of its most vocal opponents have reached a tentative agreement on what medical marijuana policy should look like in Utah, the Deseret News has learned.

But it remains unclear whether the agreement means that those who oppose the November ballot initiative known as Proposition 2 will continue to campaign against it, and just how aggressively those in favor will support it.

Proposition 2 remains on the ballot and is not changed by the agreement from both sides; voters will say yes or no on Nov. 6. But the deal means both sides are seeking a legislative solution — a "Utah solution" — to medical marijuana regardless of the Election Day result.

The agreement, made up of policy alternatives to the Proposition 2 provisions that were most heavily criticized by its detractors, comes after private talks with legislative leaders and is expected to be officially announced Thursday.

Michelle McOmber, CEO of the Utah Medical Association, which has long been opposed to Proposition 2, confirmed Tuesday that her group was involved in reaching the compromise, which "we feel would be much safer and still be compassionate and answer the needs of patients."

McOmber said a consensus was reached "based on the safety of Utah, and the safety of kids, and the safety of patients," and that it drew from "some of the better practices from other states."

"It's a process that we really just had to sit down and hammer out," she told the Deseret News. "It's basically a Utah solution."

"We have come up with a few modifications of agreement, and we'll be releasing those shortly, in the next day or two," DJ Schanz, director of the pro Proposition 2 campaign Utah Patients Coalition, said. He called the arrangement a "tentative agreement."

It's basically a Utah solution.
Michelle McOmber, CEO of the Utah Medical Association
The Deseret News reported Sunday that Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes was facilitating compromise discussions related to medical marijuana initiative, and that the Utah Patients Coalition, Utah Medical Association, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Utah Senate and pro-initiative libertarian advocacy group Libertas Institute were all represented in those private talks.

Affected policies

In the preliminary agreement, the initiative's provision allowing people who live 100 miles or more from a dispensary to grow their plants "is completely gone," Schanz said.

The agreement, he said, has also "tightened up" the current Proposition 2 provision permitting a person to use a defense to criminal charges for possession of marijuana on the basis that they can demonstrate they would have been eligible for a medical cannabis card despite not having one.


Laura Seitz, Deseret News
FILE - Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, speaks for a broad coalition of Utah community leaders at a press conference addressing Utah's medical marijuana ballot initiative during a press conference at the Utah State Office Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.

"Those (provisions) were meant to be triggers to force the state to implement, and we've come up with some other triggers," he said.

Also under the agreement, Schanz said there will be be an effort to "basically keep dosing consistent and regulated."

Concerns over the reliability of medical marijuana doses for people purchasing it at dispensaries has long been a significant argument in the Utah Medical Association's opposition to the ballot initiative.

Under the agreement recently reached over medical marijuana policy, "it's going to be in medicine format rather than the Wild West format that you see in the initiative," McOmber said.

The way the dispensing of marijuana would be handled is also set to be modified under the agreement compared to what is in the initiative, according to Schanz.


Laura Seitz, Deseret News
FILE - Heather Nelson comforts her son, Matthew,10, after he has a seizure during a press conference where Drug Safe Utah stated its position on Proposition 2, the medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot, at the Capitol on Thursday, August 23, 2018.
"There's going to be a hybrid dispensing model, I can tell you that,' he said. "One that incorporates many of the ideas of the legislators, and our (initiative's) dispensary model. … A hybrid in this case would be some of (state) Sen. (Evan) Vickers' ideas on having a centralized fill pharmacy. That'd be about the extent of what I can get into."

Proposition 2 was written to allow patients with certain medical conditions to qualify for a medical cannabis card allowing them to purchase marijuana legally.

Prop 2 future

Last week, Schanz said he would "absolutely not" entertain the idea of walking away from Proposition 2 as part of any compromise scenario. He reiterated that position Tuesday, saying his campaign was only working on "modifications that are palatable to us."

He said the agreement "isn't a brand new working bill. This is modifications to Proposition 2 we've found acceptable."

But McOmber said there are no plans for her group, the Utah Medical Association, to stop campaigning against the initiative.

"We are still absolutely opposed to Proposition 2," she said.

McOmber, who is also vice president of a political issues committee called Drug Safe Utah that has been raising funds to campaign against Proposition 2, said "in no way shape or form should that be the assumption" that those who have objected to the initiative will rescind their opposition.

"There is no doubt on that," she said. "We are not taking a stand back from that."

In fact, McOmber said she came away from the discussions with Schanz and others "with the impression" that the Utah Patients Coalition would maintain its position on Proposition 2 but ease off from "pushing hard to get it passed."

McOmber says she would like to see the ideas arrived at in the negotiations be put forward and scrutinized using the same process that all legislatively drafted bills must go through.

"There were only so many people around the table, right? So others will take a look at it at this point and they'll have input. It's not like it's in a vacuum," she said. "You have two sides that are polar opposites and they come together and they negotiate, but it still goes through the (legislative) process that it goes through at that point."


Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
FILE - Jack Gerard, center, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks with reporters following a news conference with opponents of Utah's medical marijuana ballot initiative Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Salt Lake City.
McOmber and Schanz are hopeful the polices discussed in the agreement come to fruition whether voters pass the initiative in November or not.

In August, a broad coalition of religious and civic organizations and prominent Utahns, including Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and real estate developer and philanthropist Kem Gardner, came out in opposition to Proposition 2.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was at the table in the discussions, was asked Tuesday to comment on the nature of the agreement that was negotiated, but declined to give specifics.

"We are unable to discuss the particulars associated with recent and ongoing talks but at a future date will be happy to comment on the outcomes," Marty Stephens, director of community and government relations for the church, said in a statement.

Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute, did not respond to multiple requests for comment about his organization's role in the talks.

Schanz cautioned that the agreement "is still tentative" and that the sides are "still trying to work out some of the kinks."

But he said that legislators' "buy-in" represents "a huge step in the right direction."

McOmber said that "we believe that we've hammered out the hard parts."

"How do we actually serve patients?" she asked rhetorically. "A lot of those details have been hammered out to make sure it is more of a medical process."

Legislative leadership

Lawmakers could be called into special session after the election in November to consider the agreement.

The initiative has serious challenges to it. I think most people recognize that.
Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton
Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Vickers, R-Cedar City, have been the Legislature’s point men in the private talks. Neither returned calls for comment Wednesday.

Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said he wanted to defer to them for any announcement of the agreement, but said legislators and others have worked hard to reach out and find common ground between those for and against Proposition 2.

“I don’t know that we’re totally done,” Adams said.

Discussions about the plan are continuing as lawmakers aim for a special session in November, he said.

“The initiative has serious challenges to it. I think most people recognize that,” Adams said, adding he hopes it fails.

The initiative would “really makes a mess” out of recently passed state laws on terminally ill patients and hemp, he sai

Sponsored by

VGoodiez 420EDC