Hospitals Deny Patients Organ Transplants for Smoking Weed

While the tension between state and federal laws has created a difficult situation for cannabis users, there’s another factor that is complicating the changing attitude towards weed: hospitals. Though it isn’t legally mandated, many hospitals won’t allow people who use weed to be placed on organ transplant waiting lists.


States Push Marijuana Legalization Bills Despite Opposition from the Federal Government

Lawmakers in about two dozen states have proposed bills this year to ease their marijuana laws despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning that he could crack down on pot, a major change from the Obama administration, which essentially turned a blind eye to the state legislation.

Bills have been introduced in 17 states this year to make recreational pot legal for adults, while five others are considering voter referendums on the issue. Sixteen states have introduced medical marijuana legislation, 10 are considering decriminalizing the drug and three are considering easing their penalties. An effort in Wyoming to decriminalize the drug failed this session.


Utah group starts medical marijuana ballot initiative push

Medical marijuana advocates in Utah are planning to try to get an initiative on the November 2018 ballot that would allow the drug to be used for treatment.

Advocates say they're done waiting for state lawmakers, who have rejected passing a broad medical pot law during the last three consecutive sessions. Medical marijuana advocate Christine Stenquist says the legislature's decisions over the last few years have made it clear that lawmakers have no desire to move forward with legalizing the drug, so they're going to do it themselves.

Here are things to know about the ballot initiative and the work over the last few years in Utah to get medical marijuana legalized:



Utah Lawmakers Are Planning for Exactly How They Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is not legal in Utah, and may not be anytime soon. But lawmakers took a first step Monday to outline how it would be cultivated, produced and sold if it ever is made legal here.

The Senate Health and Human Services voted 5-0 to approve SB211, and sent it to the full Senate.

"This is a road map leading to medical marijuana," said Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. "We are getting it set up, getting it ready. And all we have to do then is have a quick vote — and we'll have the legal structure" to accommodate prescription pot.


Utah House Passes Medical Marijuana Research Bill

The Utah House overwhelmingly approved a proposal Tuesday that would allow universities to study medical marijuana.

Lawmakers said research showing benefits of cannabis extracts on people may lead the state in the future to allow careful, controlled use of the drug by those with debilitating conditions.

HB130, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, has been endorsed by the Utah Medical Association, which says more study needs to be done on the drug before the state approves its broader use as a medicine.

The bill advances to the Senate for consideration.


Universities In Utah May Be Able To Study Marijuana

A Utah proposal that would allow universities to study medical marijuana has cleared its first committee meeting.

Members of a House health and human services committee voted unanimously Monday in favor of the plan, saying the research would help to flesh out when the drug should be prescribed, how much should be administered and its potential side effects.

Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber spoke in favor of the bill, saying more scientific studies are needed before marijuana can be considered a medicine.

More than two dozen states have passed comprehensive medical marijuana programs, but Utah lawmakers said last week that they’re not ready to pass a broad medical marijuana law allowing people to use the drug.


A Year After Almost Legalizing It, Utah Legislature Questions Whether Marijuana Is Medicine

Republican Rep. Brad Daw thinks the dozens of states that have implemented medical marijuana laws have approached the issue incorrectly.

Instead of determining what constitutes medicine through science and research, Daw said, they have done so through legislative or initiative-bound mandate.

"It became clear to me that we need to do it the right way," said Daw, from Orem. "Let's let the research be the guiding factor to decide what is medicine and what is not."

Lawmakers took a first step to that goal Monday, when a House committee unanimously approved Daw's measure allowing for expanded research into medical marijuana in the state.


Republicans are pushing for marijuana legalization in Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah

More than half of US states—28—have legalized medical marijuana. Sixty percent of Americans support legalization, according to an October 2016 Gallup poll—including 42% of Republicans. Some of these cannabis supporters live in conservative states, and some are even in their state’s legislature, supporting marijuana reform measures.


Utah Medical Association Says There Is No Such Thing as Medical Marijuana

The Utah Medical Association not only wants to stop marijuana from becoming legal for medical use in Utah, it wants reporters to stop using the term "medical marijuana."

But Cristine Steinquist has a brain tumor and says marijuana helps.

"It helps the nausea and the pain," she said.

But according to doctors, anecdotal stories do not make something medical. 


State of the Leaf: Marijuana Legalization News Roundup

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