Utah advocates of medical cannabis file initial paperwork to put issue before voters

File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 26, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah advocates for legalizing medical marijuana have filed the initial paperwork needed to put the issue before the state’s voters in 2018.

The Utah Patients Coalition’s ballot initiative is for whole-plant use. According to the initiative, patients seeking access to medical marijuana would need to be doctor supervised and to have a prescription.

Limits would be put in place on the amount a patient could be prescribed by a doctor and how many doctors would be permitted to write prescriptions.

The initiative specifies that marijuana would be available in topicals, oils, edibles and vaping. Conditions qualifying for prescription access to medical cannabis, which would include HIV, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, Alzheimer’s ALS, Crohn’s disease, MS, autism, and some rare and chronic diseases.

Once prescribed, the marijuana product could be purchased by qualified patients or by their caregivers who could pass background checks.

A limited number of dispensaries would be allowed: one per 150,000 residents, and, like liquor stores, the dispensaries would have to be a specified distance from schools, churches, parks and other designated institutions.

The use of most forms of medical cannabis would not be allowed in public. Patients would not be allowed to grow their own marijuana. DUI charges would apply to drivers impaired by the use of medical cannabis.

Now that the initial paperwork is in, the next step will be for the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office to review the language for legality.

After that, proponents of the initiative will have to host seven public hearings across the state, and to gather 113,143 signatures, which is 10 percent of the number of Utahns who voted in the last presidential election.

Representatives from the Utah Patients Coalition say the group has done internal polling that indicates 73 percent of Utahns favor the availability of medical marijuana.


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