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Major compromise reached in Utah

by / No Comments / 0 View / October 9, 2018

By Kate Zawidzki

On October 4 in Salt Lake City, medical marijuana supporters and opponents announced that they have reached an agreement on a compromise medical marijuana law that will be enacted during a November special session after the 2018 election.

Regardless of the outcome of Prop 2 — the medical marijuana ballot initiative that MPP helped to draft — the legislature will enact the compromise bill. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has committed to calling the special session.

MPP strongly supports the agreement because it will ensure that a workable medical marijuana law is enacted and implemented. In Utah, a statutory ballot initiative can be amended or even repealed by a simple majority in the legislature. If Prop 2 passed without any agreement on next steps, patients may have been left waiting years to access legal medical cannabis. This compromise eliminates that uncertainty and ensures legislative leaders are committed to making the law work.

This agreement has the support of the Utah Patients Coalition (the Prop 2 campaign committee), Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, the Utah Senate President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Utah Medical Association.

The compromise bill, while not ideal and cumbersome in certain respects, is workable and provides a path for Utah patients to legally access medical cannabis, including whole-plant products. MPP staff were consulted during the negotiations and provided critical input on the final agreement.

MPP has been assisting the campaign since its inception in early 2017. We helped draft the initiative, and we made significant financial contributions to fund the successful signature drive (and its subsequent legal defense). While we still wish to see Prop 2 pass, both sides have agreed to de-escalate their campaign activities.

MPP would like to thank the many individual donors who supported the Utah Patients Coalition over the last 18 months. Your generosity enabled a successful signature drive. If Prop 2 had not qualified for the ballot, yesterday’s agreement would not have been possible.

Very soon, one of the most conservative states in the country will enact a medical marijuana law. That demonstrates that any state in the country can have a medical marijuana law. MPP will continue to work across the country to achieve that goal.

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