Medical cannabis initiative advances to the ballot
Last update: July 13, 2018
After receiving well over the number of required signatures, the medical cannabis initiative backed by the Utah Patients Coalition was certified for the November ballot by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in May. Medical cannabis opponents pursued legal actions in an attempt to block the initiative from going to the voters, but they recently withdrew their lawsuit.
The initiative would establish a system in which registered patients who receive a doctor’s recommendation could legally purchase cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. Utah’s Department of Health would oversee the program.
Despite opposition from the Mormon church and high-profile state Republicans, polling suggests that Utahns remain overwhelmingly supportive of the initiative — now referred to as Proposition 2 — with three in four saying they will vote “yes.”
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 support establishing a program for medical marijuana in Utah. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can be of special help in future efforts to get sensible marijuana legislation introduced in Utah.