Utah Democrat governor's nominee reveals investigation for medical marijuana use

The Utah Democratic Party's nominee for governor stunned the state party convention by revealing that his wife is facing a criminal investigation for marijuana use.

"In the last 72 hours, we learned that my wonderful wife of 20 years, Donna, is under investigation for possession of marijuana," Mike Weinholtz told the crowd.

Weinholtz said his wife has been using marijuana to treat arthritis and chronic pain.

"She has only used cannabis for medical reasons to relieve her chronic pain," he said to cheers from the audience, adding: "The issue of medical cannabis touches everyone."

In an interview with FOX 13 on Saturday, Mike and Donna Weinholtz said they learned Wednesday she was facing an investigation by law enforcement and have been cooperative.


A Closer Look at States Trying to Legalize Marijuana in 2016

By the end of this year, several more states in the U.S. could be among those who have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. Of course, their success is up to the activists and voters in each state. If you’re in one of these states, here is what you need to know.

States where recreational legalization is on the ballot: Nevada

States where medical legalization is on the ballot: Florida

States where activists are going through the legislature or attempting to make the ballot for recreational or medical legalization: California, Vermont, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maine, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas

Long Shots


How Cannabis-Friendly Is Your State?

Ever wonder how your state stands up to the others in terms of marijuana tolerance? We don't mean how much your state can smoke, but how tolerant the locals are toward cannabis. The real-estate website Estately has the answer. 

Using specialized metrics, they put together rankings for all 50 states in their "Marijuana Enthusiasm Index." The criteria are: the percentage of monthly marijuana users, the average price of cannabis, the average number of marijuana-related Google searches, the legal status of marijuana and expressions of public interest (based on Facebook user data). 

Here are five interesting findings.


Veterans Using Marijuana To Ease PTSD

A growing number of states are weighing whether to legalize marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. But for many veterans, the debate is already over.

They’re increasingly using cannabis even though it remains illegal in most states and is unapproved by the Department of Veterans Affairs because major studies have yet to show it is effective against PTSD.

While the research has been contradictory and limited, some former members of the military say pot helps them manage their anxiety, insomnia and nightmares. Prescription drugs such as Klonopin and Zoloft weren’t effective or left them feeling like zombies, some say.


No changes for Utah marijuana laws: Bill for expanded CBD use killed

Utah will not pass a medical marijuana bill this year.

Lawmakers on Thursday killed the more restrictive of two medical marijuana bills introduced in the state. They rejected a broader plan earlier this week.

The proposal by Rep. Brad Daw of Orem and Sen. Evan Vickers of Cedar City would have allowed those with certain debilitating conditions to use a cannabis extract that has very low levels of psychoactive THC but has large amounts of cannabidiol (CBD).

Daw says there is not enough money in the budget for the proposal this year. He says he plans to introduce the proposal again next year.


How Mormons Are Leading Utah's Fight for Medical Marijuana

One summer day in 2007, Utah State Senator Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) was grilling chicken and corn on the cob in his yard with his family, when he was hit by what felt like the flu. As a chronic pain patient, Madsen, who sustained back and spine injuries from two car accidents and playing football in his youth, was wearing a Fentanyl patch to alleviate his discomfort. Not realizing the Fentanyl patch had burst, Madsen went to go lie down.


Ogden Family Urges Lawmakers to Debate Utah's Medical Marijuana Bills Monday

SALT LAKE CITY — How Utah lawmakers vote on medical marijuana next week will in large part determine future plans for Lindsay Sledge and her husband.

Their youngest daughter, 2-year-old Paloma, suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which causes severe and frequent seizures. The family of five moved to Ogden about 18 months ago. 

“With Charlee’s Law we were hopeful we’d be able to get cannabis. We thought OK this will be a great place, we bought a house, we plan to stay here and be part of the community. We have a lot riding on this,” Sledge said.


Utah: Interfaith Group in Support of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana supporters got a big endorsement Friday from an interfaith group. 

Leaders say while we've heard from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are many other faith groups in Utah who want to make their voices heard as well. 

The group is called Truce. Members say while they might have different ideological views, they can unite on certain issues, like medical marijuana. 

The group and its supporters gather at the Utah State Capitol Friday. Those in attendance heard from a Buddhist priest, a paster at Unitarian Universalist Society and a paster a Presbyterian Church.  They all urge lawmakers to extend access to medical cannabis in Utah.


Leaders from various faiths advocate for medical marijuana in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Leaders from various faiths gathered at the Utah State Capitol this week, where they called on members of the legislature to pass a law allowing patients to use medical marijuana.

Anna Zumwalt, a Soto-Zen Buddhist Priest from Salt Lake City, was among those who attended.

“We hope that the legislature will act with compassion, and not put government between the sacrosanct doctor-patient relationship,” Zumwalt said.

Rev. Patty C. Willis of the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society was also present.

“As faith leaders, we must be the voices of those who are quietly suffering,” Willis said.


Medical marijuana bill faces a rough road in the Utah House

 A House committee will hear debate next week on a pair of medical marijuana bills, but one faces a tough battle.

Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, told FOX 13 that he has been meeting with members of the House Health & Human Services Committee to persuade them to vote for his bill, SB73. It would allow for cannabis oils, edibles and extracts to be used to treat a long list of conditions, from chronic pain and cancer to AIDS and epilepsy.

The committee will hear SB73 and a competing bill, SB89 (which allows for an extract to be used).

"If we can get it to the floor, I'm very optimistic. Right now, I'm mostly concerned about the committee," Madsen said Thursday. "That committee is daunting and we have our work cut out for us."


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