Groups sue to block medical marijuana compromise in Utah, cite LDS Church domination

A pair of advocacy groups in Utah sued Thursday to block a compromise agreement legalizing medical marijuana, accusing the LDS Church of unconstitutional domination and interference involving a process that lead to the gutting of a measure approved by voters.

The lawsuit alleges the revised initiative creates overwhelming obstacles for suffering patients who want to obtain the drug. It also asks a judge to set aside the revision passed by lawmakers and keep the original version that won with 53 percent of the vote in November.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn’t immediately have comment.


Utah’s medical cannabis compromise bill explained

Utah now has a brand spanking new medical marijuana program, but it has nothing to do with the will of the people. Although the voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal in the midterm election designed to legalize medical marijuana statewide, the state legislature, in cahoots with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and Governor Gary Herbert, passed an updated version of the law in a special session this week that is being called a “compromise” to the original measure.

But the voters saw this coming.


Medical marijuana compromise in Utah easily passes and is signed into law by governor

Utah’s medical marijuana compromise breezed through the state legislature on Monday, making key changes to Proposition 2, which was passed by voters less than a month ago.

Governor Gary Herbert signed the nearly-200-page bill into law just after 8 p.m. on Monday.

"Utah now has the best-designed medical cannabis program in the country," Herbert said of the bill's passage.

“This is not an easy issue,“ said Greg Hughes, Speaker of the Utah House and sponsor of the compromise that puts the state in charge of overseeing cultivation, manufacturing, processing and distribution of medical cannabis products.


Utah's medical marijuana legislation efforts advance

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.


Utah: Medical marijuana compromise bill, intended as Proposition 2 replacement, updated for a 2nd time

The compromise medical marijuana bill intended to supersede Proposition 2 early next month was updated for a second time Wednesday.

The bill now permits the state to license up to seven medical marijuana pharmacies, rather than five as previously proposed in the compromise. It also increases the number of such licenses which may be granted in the event that a state-run central fill pharmacy is not operational by Jan. 1, 2021, upping that number to 10.

The bill now also removes a restriction on landlords prohibiting them from refusing to rent to a person solely because they have a medical cannabis card, or penalizing them in some other way on that basis.


Utah’s medical marijuana initiative is about to get swapped out with a compromise bill in the legislature

On Utah's Capitol Hill, lawmakers are finalizing a bill that would replace Proposition 2, the medical marijuana ballot initiative approved by voters last week.

Thursday morning, Fox 13 News learned TRUCE and others have retained attorney Rocky Anderson and are threatening a lawsuit over the involvement The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had with the Utah Legislature regarding that bill. 


Utah state lawmaker films himself trying marijuana ahead of vote on legalization

Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis (D) shared a video of himself trying marijuana for the first time ahead of a vote on legalizing medical cannabis in the state. Dabakis said he drove to Las Vegas, where the drug is legal, and consumed an edible gummy bear from a dispensary, which he described as “a little bit bitter” but “nothing to get worked up about.”

“I wouldn’t recommend it as sheer candy,” the Salt Lake City lawmaker said in the video, posted to Facebook and first highlighted by local CBS affiliate KUTV. Dabakis said that he thought it was important for lawmakers to try marijuana before they “change all the laws.”


Utah House, Senate GOP support medical marijuana bill; detractors say it won't happen

House and Senate Republicans appear to be on board with a proposed compromise bill for dispensing medical marijuana in Utah regardless of whether the ballot initiative passes next month. But those who support Proposition 2 say lawmakers are putting on a show and patients would never get medical cannabis under the proposal.

Both GOP caucuses met behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss the bill that could be considered in a special legislative session in November after the Nov. 6 election.


Confidence in Utah’s medical marijuana initiative is waning

With less than a month until the election, recent polls show that support has faded for Utah’s medical marijuana ballot measure, particularly among members of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Many attribute the change to a pledge made by the governor and cannabis advocates to push through a legislative compromise regardless of voters’ conclusion on Prop 2.


Five states voting on marijuana measures in November

Four weeks from now, voters in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah will all be deciding measures that would lift legal restrictions on marijuana — but all in different ways.

And Colorado, too, has another marijuana-related issue on the ballot.


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