Utah Senate considers medical marijuana framework
Last update: February 28, 2017
On February 27, the Utah Senate Health & Human Services Committee looked at S.B. 211, a bill that purports to create a medical marijuana program in Utah. The committee unanimously voted the bill out of committee favorably, and the next stop is the Senate floor for a vote there.
Unfortunately, the bill is not all it appears to be. It does not create an effective medical marijuana program and does nothing to protect patients. It only permits doctors to recommend products that have the express approval of the legislature, but it does not approve a single product. Furthermore, S.B. 211 does not lay out any qualifying conditions. For a summary of the bill and some of its problems, click here. This bill should not be allowed to pass unless it it expanded to be a full medical marijuana program, something the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Evan Vickers, says will not be happening this year. Please contact your legislators and urge them to vote against this bill unless it is reworked to protect patients this year.
Seventy-two percent of Utahns believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other serious conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them. Tell your legislators that Utahn patients deserve access in 2017.
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 [email protected] to see how you can be of special help in future efforts to get sensible marijuana legislation introduced in Utah.