Though many US states have legalized the use of medical marijuana for certain medical conditions, Utah has yet to follow suit. In fact, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, in addition to Washington D.C. and seven other states where it’s still pending. While Utah may be excluded from this list, efforts in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in Utah have been made. In the early months of 2016, two bills were presented: SB 73 and SB 89.
Though both failed to pass legislation, SB 73 and SB 89 were presented to allow individuals with qualifying medical conditions access to medical marijuana or cannabis-based medicine, respectively. With the failing of each bill, medical marijuana in Utah remains unlegalized. However, support and consideration are still relatively intact.
Medical Marijuana: Utah Bills and Their Dismissal
As stated, two bills were recently presented in an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Utah. While each bill differed in its approach to legalizing forms of medical marijuana, both failed due to a lack of funding and overall support. These bills weren’t Utah’s first efforts in legalizing medical marijuana, either. In 2015, SB 259 was presented, with similar provisions that would have allowed qualifying individuals access to cannabis. Much like the aforementioned bills presented, SB 259 also failed.
Regardless of previous efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, SB 73 and 89 had made more progress than ever, prior to ultimately being dismissed. Despite gaining significant public interest and the strong efforts of chief sponsors Mark Madsen and Evan Vickers, the bills failed as a result of insignificant funding, poor execution, and opposition from the LDS church. Nevertheless, legalizing medical marijuana in Utah is still an ongoing process, as well as debate.
Current State of Medical Marijuana in Utah
Although the recent medical marijuana bills did not pass legislation, efforts in legalizing the use of such continue to be made in Utah. With nearly 50% of US states legalizing medical marijuana, in addition to Washington D.C. and the seven states awaiting its passing, it could be likely Utah does the same. Progress has been made, and the failing of SB 73 and SB 89 present insight as to where to go next in Utah’s move to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. While the bills weren’t successful in legalizing medicinal marijuana, they were a means to educate the public.
In regards to the current state of legalizing medical marijuana in Utah, many advocates have begun constructing plans for a ballot which will allow voters to state whether or not they want to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. This initiative is said to be filed mid-2016 with plans to place it on the ballot for 2018.
Medical Marijuana in Utah: Slowly Moving Forward
While the two aforementioned bills failed in an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, they were able to raise awareness and educate the public. The bills can also be viewed as a means to effectively move forward in the push to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Efforts continue to be made in support of its legalization, however, specific provisions and guidelines will need to be made.
If you’d like to read more about the current state of medical marijuana in Utah and its possible legalization, view Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer Clayson Simms’ website.