Comprehensive medical marijuana legislation gains support in Utah Senate
Last update: September 28, 2015
In 2014, the Utah Legislature passed, and Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law, a bill allowing individuals suffering from intractable epileptic disorders to legally possess and use CBD oils if certified to do so by their neurologists. While this limited new program represents progress, much more must be done to protect patients. The program excludes the vast majority of medical marijuana patients and may not even help those it was meant to protect.
In 2015, state Sen. Mark Madsen introduced S.B. 259, a bill that would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program that would protect registered, qualifying, medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but failed by one vote on the Senate floor. Sen. Madsen vowed to continue fighting for passage of medical marijuana legislation in the next session.
Currently, there is no companion bill in the Utah House.
If you live in Utah, please help keep the momentum going by contacting your state representative and senator and asking them to help pass medical marijuana next year.
Decriminalization and prohibition
Under current Utah law, possession of as little as an ounce or less of marijuana can result in a six-month jail sentence. Unfortunately, minority and low-income communities in Utah are disproportionately the ones who face these draconian penalties. The ACLU recently found that black Utahans are over three and three-quarters times as likely to get arrested for marijuana possession as their white neighbors.
Write your legislators and ask that they introduce legislation to end Utah’s marijuana prohibition by legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use. Or, ask them to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession to a more reasonable non-criminal fine.
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If you are a patient, a medical professional, a law enforcement official, or a clergy member, please email [email protected] to see how you can be of special help in future efforts to get sensible marijuana legislation introduced in Utah.