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Utah Legislature Passes Compromise Medical Marijuana Bill

Utah Legislature Passes Compromise Medical Marijuana Bill

Utah lawmakers passed a medical marijuana compromise bill weeks after the state's voters approved Proposition 2 to legalize medical marijuana. The legislation is more restrictive than the proposal that came before voters. 

What Happened

On Monday, Utah lawmakers voted overwhelmingly for a compromise bill allowing up to seven medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, down from the maximum of 20 stipulated in Proposition 2. In addition, the bill bans home cultivation and requires dispensaries to hire pharmacists to recommend dosages.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, into law Tuesday. 

Why It's Important

Herbert had previously expressed his opposition to Proposition 2.

The Mormon church, the Utah Episcopal Diocese, the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, the Utah Medical Association, the Utah PTA and multiple law enforcement groups also opposed the ballot question. 

Proposition 2 passed with 53 percent of the vote Nov. 6.

The proposition legalizes medical marijuana for people with certain qualifying conditions, but bans smoking cannabis.

The proposition allowed edibles, but the law signed by Herbert mostly excludes them, with the exception of gelatin cubes, according to The Salt Lake Tribune

The bill would have allowed people to grow up to six plants for personal medical use provided they lived more than 100 miles from a dispensary — but that provision disappeared with the state legislature's action. 

What's Next

Some legalization advocates have called the compromise bill too restrictive and expressed concerns that it will create barriers for patients seeking medical marijuana. 

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