Utah's medical marijuana legislation efforts advance

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Utah lawmakers and others involved in forging legislation to revise a voter-approved medical marijuana law say they’ve settled on a new version for consideration during an anticipated December special session.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act would replace the ballot measure that voters approved Nov. 6.

By passing the ballot measure, Utah joined more than 30 states allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana.

The latest changes to the draft legislation hammered out recently include dropping renter protections for medical marijuana patients and increasing the number of available licenses for cannabis pharmacies.

The legislation was originally proposed as a pre-election compromise among marijuana advocates, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and legislators to gain the support of the church.

The faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to broader use of marijuana, but after months of fierce debate agreed to the deal.

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser recently told fellow senators they need to attend a planned Dec. 3 special legislative session and that if necessary he would compel them to show up.

Niederhauser said the legislation needs support from two-thirds majority to take effect immediately.

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