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Utah: Patients Coalition Launches 2018 Signature Drive for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

Patients, advocates, and dedicated volunteers begin signature drive across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The campaign to place a medical cannabis initiative on the November 2018 ballot has entered their signature gathering phase. The Utah Patients Coalition are collecting signatures throughout the state and are assembling teams on a daily basis. To qualify for the ballot, more than 113,000 valid signatures are required.

On August 10, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders.

Utah: Initiative Approved to Begin Collecting Signatures for Medical Cannabis in 2018

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Utah Patients Coalition has received approval from Lt., Governor Spencer Cox, to begin gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. After holding 10 public hearings across the state and meeting with various state departments and stakeholders, Utah Patients Coalition will now proceed to collect the more than 113,000 required signatures to place doctor-approved access to medical cannabis on the ballot for Utah voters to approve.

Utah: Congresswoman Love Expresses Support for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Rep. Mia Love

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

At a town hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, Utah Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) responded to questions about her support for medical cannabis.

“I know a lot of parents out there where their children suffer from epilepsy, or they suffer from other things, and if it’s prescribed by a doctor, then I’m fine with it,” Rep. Love said.

Rep Love continued, “I mean we have an opioid epidemic here. Not just here, but all throughout the country, there are things I believe are far more harmful.”

Utah: Prominent Businessman Supports Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medicinal cannabis advocates in Utah have a major name stepping in to defend the right to use the plant, Utah businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.

"I'm a very strong advocate for medical marijuana," Huntsman Sr. said.

Huntsman, a four-time cancer survivor, said his support comes from compassion. Huntsman has suffered from Polymyalgia Rheumatica, a disorder that can cause severe shoulder and hip-joint pain, for the past 10 years.

"I won't take the opioids, I'll take the pain," Huntsman says.

The possibility of kidney or bladder failure and constipation turned Huntsman away from opioids entirely.

Utah: Poll of Likely Voters Shows 73% Support for a Medical Cannabis Ballot Initiative

Utah Medical Marijuana Poll - February 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition, a political campaign committee formed to support a 2018 ballot initiative to establish a medical cannabis program in Utah. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

Utah: Medical Cannabis Initiative Moves Forward Towards 2018 Ballot

Utah Medical Cannabis

The ballot initiative would set up state-regulated cannabis growing and dispensing operations and allow the drug to be consumed in edible forms, in topical forms or as an oil, however, smoking cannabis would not be allowed, but vaping would

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medical cannabis activists in Utah have filed the necessary paperwork to get the issue before voters in 2018. The Utah Lt. Governor's Office will review the language for legality and fiscal impact to taxpayers. Before qualifying for the November 2018 ballot, the Utah Patients Coalition must hold seven public hearings throughout Utah and collect 113,143 signatures from registered voters around the state.

Utah: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Research Bill

Gary Herbert.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, has signed a bill to allow research into the benefits and risks of medical marijuana. The proposal is supported by the Utah Medical Association, which has been pushing for more research in the hope of expanding the state's limited medical marijuana program, which currently only allows the use of CBD.

The Utah legislature has failed to pass medical marijuana reforms for three consecutive years now. Advocates for reform have already begun to work on getting a question on the ballot for 2018.

The bill signed by the Governor (HB130) will allow researchers to study the benefits, risks, and effects of medical marijuana without federal approval. It will also create a Cannabinoid Product Board to consider future recommendations for medical marijuana policy. The board will consist of four physicians, three medical research professionals, and three members of the Controlled Substances Advisory Committee.

Utah: Lawmakers Planning For How They Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana 1.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Utah lawmakers took a first step Monday to outline how medical marijuana would be cultivated, produced and sold if it ever is made legal in the state.

The Senate Health and Human Services voted 5-0 to approve SB211, and sent it to the full Senate.

"This is a road map leading to medical marijuana," said Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. "We are getting it set up, getting it ready. And all we have to do then is have a quick vote — and we'll have the legal structure" to accommodate prescription cannabis.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said, "It does create the pattern on how the state would handle it, if and when a [legalized medical marijuana] policy is adopted."

Vickers said legalization could come soon "by the Legislature, it could be adopted by a referendum process, it could be adopted by the Legislature itself putting something on the ballot for next year."

So, Vickers said, "We felt like it was prudent to continue the discussion how the state would handle things, realizing nothing would be triggered until you had something in place that said we're going to legalize this type of cannabis product and for these conditions."

Utah: Committee Unanimously Passes Medical Marijuana Research Bill

buds in jar.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Utah’s House Health and Human Services committee unanimously passed House Bill 130, allowing research on medical marijuana without federal approval.

State Representative Brad Daw (R), the bill’s sponsor in the House, said, “This is the first step in what I think is the right policy direction for this state.”

The proposal specifically:

allows a person to possess cannabis, a cannabinoid product, and an expanded cannabinoid product and to distribute the cannabis, a cannabinoid product, or an expanded cannabinoid product to a patient pursuant to an institutional review board-approved study; and
allows a person conducting an institutional review board-approved study to import and distribute cannabis, a cannabinoid product, and an expanded cannabinoid product under certain circumstances.

Proponents of medical marijuana are frustrated with the decision, believing there is plenty of research to prove its medical use, and want the state to expand upon a law passed in 2014 that allows for the medical use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil, but only for those with epilepsy to allow full-plant use (as well as THC), and to greatly expand the list of qualifying conditions.

Utah: Gubernatorial Candidate Unveils Medical Marijuana Plan

Weinholtz 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In the wake of his wife pleading guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge, Utah gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz has rolled out a plan to legalize medical marijuana.

"There have been people suffering long enough, and we know this would help those people, so now is the time," Weinholtz said on Thursday.

His wife has said she uses marijuana to deal with chronic pain. Feds declined to prosecute her case and sent it to the Tooele County Attorney. On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot possession charge.

“It's bigger than just my wife and my family,” Weinholtz said. “There are thousands of Utahns that are struggling with these many different types of conditions.”

Weinholdts's plan includes: -Legalizing medical marijuana, with reasonable safeguards.

-Funding pain management programs, to cut down on opioid abuse.

-Expanding education and police department supply of Naloxone, used to save drug overdose patients.

"The increase in opioid addiction in the state has been dramatic, has been 400 percent since the year 2000, and medical cannabis would help with the reduction of opioids as well," Weinholtz said.

Utah: LDS Leaders Ask Mormons To Oppose Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The LDS Church's First Presidency is asking the church's members in three western states to oppose bills that would legalize recreational marijuana.

In letters sent Wednesday to Arizona, California, and Nevada, Church President Thomas S Monson and his counselors said, "We urge church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use."

"Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions," the First Presidency noted, "and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented. Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children."

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults over 21. On Nov. 8, Nevada residents will vote on Question 2, Arizona residents will consider Proposition 205 and Californians will decide on Proposition 64. Maine and Massachusetts also have recreational marijuana on voters' ballots next month.

Utah: State To File Marijuana Charges Against Wife Of Gubernatorial Candidate


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Federal prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the wife of Mike Weinholtz, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Utah. A state prosecutor will take the case instead.

"We recieved a call from the U.S. Attorney's Office, asking us if we would take the case on a conflict," said Gary Searle, Chief Deputy Tooele County Attorney. "The district attorney in Salt Lake evidently is friends with the Weinholtz's or has a social relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Weinholtz."

Mike Weinholtz, currently running for Governor against incumbent Gary Herbert, made a surprising announcement during the state's Democratic Convention in April. He declared that his wife, Donna Weinholtz, was being investigated for using medical marijuana. A statement from his campaign said she "uses marijuana to seek relief from chronic neck, back and knee pain brought on by arthritis."

"I thought it was necessary to be open and honest with the delegates," he said at the time. "I thought it would be dishonest if I didn't disclose it."

On Wednesday a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office read: "After reviewing the case carefully and consulting with the Tooele County Attorney, we determined that the best venue for the case would be on the county level rather than pursuing a federal case."

Utah: Poll Shows Strong Support For Asset Forfeiture Reform On Eve Of Primary


One out of 11 Surveyed Utah Voters Report Having Property Taken by Police without Criminal Charge from Themselves or Someone They Know

Utah Voters Also Signal Support for Presidential Candidates Who Embrace Asset Forfeiture Reform

An overwhelming majority of registered Utah voters support civil asset forfeiture reform, according to a new poll released by Drug Policy Action. The poll was released the day before Utah’s primary election vote.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Utah registered voters, including 83 percent of all Republicans, think police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters polled, including 70 percent of Republicans, would be more likely to support a candidate for president who took the position that the government should not be able to take property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

Also, a high number of surveyed Utah voters (1 out of 11) reported that a police officer has taken property from them or someone they know without being charged with a crime. Most of these respondents said that property was taken from them during a traffic stop.

Utah: Advocates Plan To Boot Out Lawmakers Who Voted No For Medical Marijuana

Advocates plan to vote out lawmakers that said no to medical marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Advocates in Utah are frustrated over the failure of the state's medical marijuana bill, and have promised to bring the issue back up for voters with a ballot initiative, and to target the jobs of legislators who prevented the bill's passage.

Christine Stenquist, President and Co-Founder of TRUCE (Together for the Responsible Use of Cannabis), said, "Patients are going to go after seats. We’re going to go after those votes.”

Stenquist said it's too late to meet the requirements to bring forward a ballot initiative this year, Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City reported. She said her group plans to form a political action committee to target seats in the Capitol held by politicians blocking medical marijuana. "We have tried legislatively and they won’t listen,” she said.

Amanda Ellis-Graham, a medical marijuana user for two and a half years, was with Stenquist on the Capitol steps after Senate Bill 73 was voted out. “I was in a wheelchair for about four to five years. Housebound in a wheelchair,” said Ellis-Graham, who has battled multiple sclerosis for 18 years.

Ellis-Graham says that medical marijuana is the reason she is walking today, but she has to buy her cannabis illegally in Utah. “It’s very sad to think that I might have to leave my own state where I grew up, where my family is, so I’m not a criminal,” she said.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in twenty-three states.

Utah: Legislature Passes Resolution Asking Federal Government To Reclassify Marijuana

The Utah House wants the feds to reclassify marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Utah House unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday requesting that the federal government reclassify marijuana, making it less regulated to allow for more medical research.

Floor sponsor Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said "The federal government is way, way behind in realizing that there are some medical possibilities with cannabis."

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it should have "no currently accepted medical use in the United States," according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Diversion Control website.

Daw said that marijuana needs to be reclassified as a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs "have a high potential for abuse" but are recognized as having some medical benefit.

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said he'd "like to see the federal government allow us to gather the information that's necessary to make good policy decisions, both at the state and the federal level."

The resolution, SCR11, received no opposing votes.

"To me, this is more than a resolution to make us feel good. This is important stuff, and we are seeing a federal government that has, for far too long, dropped the ball on this and kind of ignored the problem," Daw said.

The resolution now goes before the governor for his decision.

Utah: Medical Marijuana Passes Senate, Headed To House

Utah Senate Passes medical marijuana bill.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voting on medical marijuana bill SB73, the Utah Senate voted 17-12 Thursday afternoon, approving a bill that would allow patients with specific illnesses to use marijuana edibles, extracts, and oils.

Proposed by Senator Mark Madsen, R-District 13, the bill clearly defines "cannabis", he said, and adds child-proofing standards, dosing guidelines, and other regulations.

The bill now must go before the Utah House for a vote. Supporters of the bill expect opposition in the House, but believe this positive vote could help them rally the 38 votes needed for the bill to get passed by the House.

Madsen had watered down the bill after opposition from the Senate and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Another competing bill was passed earlier this week in the Senate in an 18-8 vote. SB89, a much more narrow bill, would would allow for a cannabis extract to treat certain medical conditions. Both bills now go to the House for consideration.

Utah: State Senate May Ask Congress To Reclassify Marijuana As Schedule II


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Utah Senate could soon urge Congress to change the classification of marijuana, currently considered Schedule I under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, to Schedule II, which could open the door for more medicinal cannabis research.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 11, sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozawa (R-Salt Lake), would require the approval of the full Utah Legislature and Governor Gary Hebert, reports Jeremy Harris at KUTV.

Marijuana's current classification as Schedule I means that the U.S. federal government considers cannabis to be as dangerous as heroin and has "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." Both cocaine and methamphetamine, incredibly, are considered Schedule II, thus less dangerous than marijuana, by the feds.

Shiozawa's resolution would urge Congress to reclassify marijuana to Schedule II. The downside to classifying cannabis as Schedule II, rather than de-scheduling it altogether, is that a Schedule II classification would effectively put marijuana under the tight control of Big Pharma.

"It's kind of gotten to be a mess because of inactivity on the executive branch and Congress," Shiozawa said. "This is an issue that frankly, we should have dealt with years ago."

The text of Shiozawa's resolution points out that the federal government has already indicated it won't prosecute patients who abide by their state's medical marijuana laws.

Utah: Mormon Church Opposes Medical Marijuana Edibles Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Mormon church is opposing a bill before the Utah Legislature which would legalize the medicinal use of edible cannabis products.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leaders claimed they were worried about "unintended consequences" of the bill introduced by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Eagle Mountain), reports the Associated Press. A majority of state lawmakers in Utah are Mormons, so the church position on an issue usually is codified into law.

The church isn't objecting to another medical marijuana bill, a much more restrictive CBD-only measure that would only allow access to cannabis infused oil, according to church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

Madsen told The Salt Lake Tribune that church representatives told him and other lawmakers about their opposition, but wouldn't explain their reasoning. "Maybe they don't want to be known as the spcial interest who put their thumb on the scale and decided this for everyone in the state," he said.

"If they're going to put their thumb on the scale politically and force everyone to a standard, then I think they owe something of an explanation to the people," Sen. Madsen said. Madsen's right; at the very least, these hypocrites seem to be falling a little short of their ideals.

Both medical marijuana bills in the Utah Legislature have been approved in committee and are expected to be debated before the full Senate within a week.

Arizona: Cannabis Expo Offers Free Admission For Dispensary and Cultivation Owners In SW


Regional dispensary and cultivation center owners will receive free admission to the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo (SWCCE) on October 27 and 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center, according to Rory Mendoza, executive director of the first-ever cannabis convention in Arizona.

The complimentary admission tickets are provided through a partnership with MJ Freeway and event organizers and must be reserved online at www.swccexpo.com by October 15. Licensed dispensary and cultivation center owners from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Southern California may qualify.

“Education and community are a cornerstone of our industry,” said Amy Poinsett, cofounder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "Conferences like the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo help ensure all regions have access to events that foster leadership, education and community-building.

"MJ Freeway gladly supports the advancement of the cannabis industry through our sponsorship of these types of events," Poinsett said. "The SWCCE is special because cannabis-business owners, the heart of the industry, receive free admission to the event."

MJ Freeway markets seed-to-sale tracking software, with patent-pending inventory control and grow management applications for cannabis businesses. The company provides technology that delivers solutions and compliance accountability for producers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers.

Utah: Governor Open To Legalizing Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Thursday said he would be open to legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, providing science shows it can benefit patients and "tight regulations" can control distribution.

"I'm open to the idea of medical marijuana and the discussion of how it can be used as a medicine based on science, and making sure we have good, collaborative efforts so we can answer the questions that are out there," Gov. Herbert said, reports Robert Gehrke at The Salt Lake Tribune.

The governor's position has noticeably softened since the recent legislative session, when he expressed "concerns" about a bill sponsored by state Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) which would have created a state-licensed system of medicinal cannabis growing facilities and dispensaries for patients with a doctor's authorization.

At that time, Gov. Herbert had claimed Madsen's bill could lead to a "slippery slope" towards legal recreational use. Madsen's bill failed in the Senate by a single vote; he's said he will reintroduce it next year.

The governor's comments represent progress, according to Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute, a libertarian think tank. "Even during the legislative session, it became clear that the governor was backtracking his initial opposition to medical cannabis, so we expected this to happen and are encouraged to see him becoming more open-minded to it, just as many legislators are," Boyack said.

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