Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Will Utah Lawmakers Squelch ‘Right To Try’ Medical Marijuana Initiative?

A pair of  bills that would allow terminally ill patients access to medical marijuana grown and distributed by the sate of Utah, have moved forward in the legislature. But as UtahPolicy.com reports, lawmakers may try to kill the initiative in its tracks by using a tactic known as “SB54-ing.”

In short, the move would “delay the implementation of legal medical marijuana until the federal government re-classifies cannabis as a Schedule IV drug.”

House Bills 195 (which allows doctors to recommend medical marijuana for the terminally ill) and 197 (which puts the grow op in the hands of the state Department of Agriculture and Food) are both sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R) and approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

According to FOX13, some lawmakers were concerned that the feds could come after the state for growing its own federally illegal cannabis.

While the Utah Medical Association supports the idea of the legislation, it’s not sold on its practical aspects. Others like TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education) had problems with the bills.

Said Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt:

We are opposed to this principle, this fundamental principle of violating federal law. We think we’re duty bound, morally to respect federal law. We think this action would be akin to if my municipality didn’t want to follow state law from the legislature.

But DJ Schanz of the Utah Patients Coalition says the bills don’t go far enough, calling them “cannabis theater.”

“While they give an illusion of moving the ball forward, they do little to nothing to give patients access and respite. As the chief Prohibitionist on the hill, Representative Daw’s crocodile tear filled attempts at legislation the 11th hour are nothing more than parlor tricks meant to undermine the meaningful reforms and patient access the Ballot Initiative will give,” stated Schanz.

The bills now go to the full house for a vote. If passed, Utah would become the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana.


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