SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers are expected to meet Monday night to consider changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, an issue that has faced fierce criticism from people on both sides of the debate.
The proposed changes include scrapping plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system and adopting protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes.
Utah backtracked from the state-run dispensary after county attorneys expressed concern that such a system would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, who drafted the law, has proposed increasing the number of private dispensaries from seven to 12.
Lawmakers are also expected to discuss issues with and land use ordinances that could prevent growers from having medical marijuana ready for patients by next year.
During a tense public hearing last week, medical marijuana advocates and conservative groups sparred over amendments regarding the distribution and prosecution of drug crimes.
Members of the conservative group Utah Eagle Forum lamented the loss of the state-run dispensary system, while some medical marijuana advocates raised concern that 12 private dispensaries wouldn’t be enough to meet growing patient demand.
An amendment outlining patient protections caused an emotional back-and-forth between conservative attorneys who argued parents couldn’t take care of children while using marijuana and patients who said the drug makes them better caretakers and helps them manage their pain.
Utah residents voted to legalize marijuana via ballot measure in November.
The revised law became effective in December after a compromise that secured the support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and some marijuana advocates.
However, the deal drew backlash from other advocates as it banned many marijuana edibles, placed additional restrictions on growing cannabis and made fewer medical conditions eligible for treatment with pot.
Several marijuana growers are facing delays in opening their facilities and planting crops, Drew Rigby, the cannabis coordinator for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, said at last week’s hearing.
Vickers said he’s optimistic that the changes will be approved and improve patient access and expedite the process.
“There’s a sense of urgency here,” he said.
Opioids Lawsuit Reaches $260M Settlement Before Trial
China Warns Citizens Living In Canada Against Consuming Legal Cannabis
Does Cannabis Help People with HIV Preserve Brain Function?
Vaping Trailblazer Reportedly Sold Dangerous Synthetic Marijuana
Expert Lighting Advice For Taking Your Grow To The Next Level
Authorities Investigating “Dank” Cartridges As Possible Culprit In Vape-Related Illnesses
The Rebirth Of Subcool: The Inside Story Of A Legendary Bud Breeder
The Best Hydroponic Methods For Growing Cannabis Yourself
News5 days ago
Canadian Cannabis Company Will Sell Marijuana For Less Than $5 Per Gram
News7 days ago
Researchers Study How to Treat Cannabis Addiction With More Cannabis
Activism6 days ago
Compassion Lives on in California as Governor Signs The Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act
News6 days ago
California Governor Signs Several Marijuana-Related Bills
News6 days ago
Comprehensive Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania
News4 days ago
A Year After Canada Legalizes Weed, People Are Still Buying Unregulated Cannabis
News6 days ago
Florida Man Calls Police to Report His Roommate For Stealing His Weed
Activism5 days ago
Semper Fidelis: Twenty22Many Hooks Vets Up With Free Clones And A Healing-Based Community