Over the past couple years, medical marijuana in Utah has been a scorching and controversial topic. In what has turn out to be a protracted, back-and-forth course of between state legislators, medical marijuana advocates, and different highly effective gamers within the state, Utah’s medical marijuana program continues to bear dramatic modifications.
Now, state lawmakers are getting ready to make one other important change. Particularly, they mentioned they may quickly eradicate a proposal to distribute medical cannabis by state and county well being departments. As a substitute, medical marijuana within the state might be offered by a community of privately owned and operated dispensaries.
New Adjustments to Utah’s Medical Marijuana Program
As reported by native information supply Fox 13 Salt Lake Metropolis, lawmakers are set to introduce the brand new change in a particular session of the State Legislature.
Importantly, this variation will overhaul the state’s deliberate system for distributing medical marijuana. Up till now, the state deliberate on utilizing a “central fill” system. On this framework, all medical marijuana can be distributed and offered by state and native well being departments.
The plan sparked controversy when it was handed on the finish of 2018. Particularly, many medical marijuana advocates identified that this system would run into issues, because it basically forces governmental employees and businesses to promote a federally banned substance.
And certain sufficient, these fears started materializing final month. Particularly, the Davis County Lawyer and Salt Lake County Lawyer each suggested their respective well being departments to not distribute medical marijuana. In each instances, the attorneys expressed concern that state and native employees may not be protected in opposition to federal prosecution.
Now, the proposed modifications purpose to keep away from these issues. Underneath the brand new plan, there might be 12 personal dispensaries all through the state. These dispensaries will exchange the beforehand deliberate seven state-run distributors.
Moreover, the brand new guidelines can even make finance-related modifications. In keeping with early experiences, lawmakers will enable for digital funds as a substitute of relying fully on money transactions.
A Step Nearer to What Voters Accredited
In some ways, the brand new modifications will transfer Utah’s medical marijuana program nearer to this system initially permitted by voters. In 2018, voters permitted Proposition 2. Nevertheless, that invoice was rapidly changed by a unique invoice.
Instantly sparking controversy, this alternative invoice was put into place solely by lawmakers—with out going to a public vote. Additional, the invoice was drafted in closed door conferences between representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, generally generally known as the Mormon Church, high-ranking lawmakers, and different opponents of Proposition 2.
The alternative invoice dramatically altered the provisions of Proposition 2. And one of many largest modifications was the change from personal dispensaries to central fill.
Satirically, the modifications now being proposed by lawmakers are basically returning to the distribution system initially outlined in Proposition 2. Lawmakers are actually hopeful to get this system up and operating by March 2020.
“We’re glad to listen to that the legislators are working in direction of higher options for a more healthy medical cannabis program,” Christine Stenquist, Founder and Govt Director of Collectively for Accountable Use and Hashish Schooling, advised Fox 13. “Even now with the opportunity of an added 5 licenses for dispensaries, we are going to proceed to see sufferers in rural counties severely underserved.”