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After a legislative committee debated two medical marijuana bills, only one survived and advanced to the House for full debate.
Lindsey Ohlin of Roy was not surprised SB89, known as the Vickers-Daw bill, advanced 7-5 while Sen. Mark Madsen’s SB73, the broader of the two measures, failed in a 4-8 vote Monday, March 7.
In a 17-10 vote, with 2 absent, SB 73, Utah’s whole-plant medical cannabis bill was advanced in third reading out of the senate and onto the House of Representatives. It will be read three times in the House, and if passed, land on Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk March 11 to be signed into law. If he signs, Utah will become the 24th state to legalize safe access to medical cannabis and the first to progress from a restrictive cannabidiol (CBD)-only policy to whole-plant access.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.
The state's predominant faith is not taking a position on another measure, sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, and Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, that would allow extracts from the plant that do not contain the psychoactive chemical THC.
Both Utah’s SB 73, the whole-plant medical cannabis bill, and SB 89, a continuation of the state’s current and pioneering CBD-only legislation, passed committees and onto the Senate floor today. The bills will now be heard simultaneously.
Sen. Mark Madsen’s (R-Saratoga Springs) whole-plant medical cannabis bill passed today in a 4-1 vote after an emotional two-hour testimony from, patients, advocates and local medical professionals.
A bill that advocates claim would allow so-called “whole plant” medical cannabis usage has finally been unveiled in the Utah State Legislature.
Senate Bill 73, from Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, directs the Utah Dept. of Agriculture to license and regulate cannabis cultivation and processing facilities. It would also direct the Utah Dept. of Health to give out medical marijuana cards to patients who meet a list of qualifying ailments.
Senator Mark Madsen has sponsored legislation that would allow patients suffering from a few conditions to possess and use cannabis, with a doctor’s approval and recommendation. Senate Bill 73 would prohibit smoking, but allow the individual to ingest cannabis for relief or treatment through an oil, topical, vapor, or edible.
Last year, Senator Madsen attempted to legalize medical cannabis; the bill failed by a single vote in the Senate.
District Attorney Sim Gill appeared alongside dozens of people who have admitted to using medical marijuana in a show of support for legislation that would legalize it in Utah.
"We need to start thinking about our public policy," Gill said Wednesday.
A pair of bills are being introduced in the upcoming legislative session that would allow medical cannabis in Utah -- but with different impacts.
Now that public opinion has tipped nationally in favor of medical cannabis, the battle has begun for legislative reform in the nation’s most conservative states. It seems Utah, with its proximity to states like Colorado, California, Nevada and Arizona, has become ground zero for the conservative debate for medical cannabis. Facing mounting demand and pressure from constituents, legislators have responded with two pieces of competing legislation for 2016.
Marijuana laws throughout the country are being reformed, and some states have even voted to allow the use of cannabis for medical reasons. In Utah, marijuana laws have become even more complex as the state continues to outlaw the drug, but makes certain exceptions for its partial use.