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Utah Gives Initial Approval to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Emily Cegielski

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A medical marijuana proposal passed its first test in the conservative state of Utah this week after a Senate committee voted 3-2 to pass the bill. 

Senate Bill 259 would allow residents with chronic and debilitating illnesses to use products containing medical marijuana but only in gummy or liquid form. Under the proposal, the state would distribute cannabis products to licensed dispensaries, and all of the marijuana plants would be tracked electronically from planting to consumption.

Sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, SB259 faces an uphill battle. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has already expressed concerns about the program, calling medical marijuana "a sham."

"I've had a very strong emotional knee-jerk type of reaction from a lot of folks. I think we need to push past that emotion and push past much of the propaganda that's been promulgated for a number of years," Sen. Madsen said to The Salt Lake Tribune. '"Reefer Madness' is neither medical research nor public policy, it's propaganda, and we can't be basing our policy on propaganda."

Madsen, who has a reoccurring back pain problem, explained that he recently went to Colorado to try cannabis as a pain reliever and attested to its effectiveness. Madsen's bill is the first time such a plan has been proposed in Utah and will now be sent to the full Senate for a vote.

Currently, 23 states have laws similar to this on the books, and marijuana reform proposals are being introduced on both federal and state levels at an increasingly high rate.

(Photo Courtesy of Laurie Avocado)

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