The Governor of Utah seems to think a medical marijuana program is in Utah’s near future. In fact, he hinted at it during a Q & A session at South Hills Middle School in Riverton on Wednesday. While speaking to the students, a young girl asked the governor a question he may not have expected to hear at a middle school. She asked if he believed medical marijuana would be legalized in Utah. And to everyone’s surprise, he responded, “I think they will”. Governor Gary Herbert has been paying attention to the polls. He knows which direction Utah is heading in when it comes to medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana in Utah
A poll conducted by the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics showed three out of four Utahns were in support of legalizing medical marijuana. The poll found that 93 percent of the state’s Democrats will support legalization. The majority of Republicans still support the idea with 65 percent of them backing medical marijuana.
The Governor of Utah isn’t a supporter of legalizing medical marijuana. But he acknowledges the likelihood that his state will soon legalize medical marijuana. After telling middle school students he believed it would happen, he elaborated on how he believed it should go down.
“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,” he said before adding “I think it’s gonna happen.”
There is a potential ballot initiative that will put medical marijuana to a vote in November. FOX 13 asked the Governor to clarify if he was talking about the potential ballot.
“I think sometime. Not the ballot initiative necessarily or anything in the legislature, but in time, if we get the science to back up the fact there is a medicinal use for marijuana, that it does cure pain as a medicine,” he said.
The governor received criticism in 2016 for his comments on medical marijuana.
“I think the discussion is now at hand, the time is nigh, to see if we can find a pathway forward on this,” Herbert said during a press conference at the start of 2016. “But I’m not interested in having Dr. Feelgood out there say ‘Yeah, yeah. Qué pasa? You know, here’s your doobie for the day and you’ll feel better.’ That’s probably not where I want to go.”
At the time he tried saying it would be up to the federal government to change the laws surrounding marijuana. A classic stall tactic typically utilized by prohibitionists.
Final Hit: Governor of Utah Hints At Medical Marijuana Program
In 2017, Governor Herbert backed a push by lawmakers for more research before allowing legalized medical marijuana. Supporters of medical marijuana were happy to see he appeared more open in 2018.
“It’s great to see the governor has come a long way from ‘Cheech and Chong’ jokes back in 2016 to now acknowledging that this is going to become a reality for many of the patients out there,” said DJ Schanz with the Utah Patients Coalition.
Activists like The Utah Patients Coalition are pushing to get medical marijuana on the November ballot. In fact, the group has turned in more than 85,000 signatures to put medical marijuana on the November ballot. The petition requires 113,000 signatures. With close to a year to go and well over half of the needed signatures collected, medical marijuana in Utah seems inevitable. It’s obvious that their governor is slowly becoming aware of it.