utah senate

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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: 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: Republican State Senator Mark Madsen Advocates Medical Marijuana Legalization


A conservative Republican Utah state senator has a “420” message for America: “It’s time to legalize medical cannabis.” In an exclusive video interview released Monday morning, Utah State Senator Mark Madsen discussed his own personal use of medical cannabis and advocates for national reform.

“We need to work from the principles of freedom and compassion and let the policy grow from there,” Sen. Madsen said. “I believe we should allow individuals and their physicians to make their own decisions on whether medical cannabis is an augmentation or an alternative to other traditional medical treatments. Government has no legitimate place in that process.”

In 2007, Madsen was nearly killed by an accidental overdose of fentanyl when a patch his doctor prescribed accidentally tore and released a fatal dose of the opiate.

Madsen was the sponsor of recent legislation in the state, S.B. 259, which would have legalized the cultivation, production, sale and possession of whole-plant medical cannabis for a range of conditions. The bill was narrowly defeated by one flipped vote in the Senate in March.

Shortly before introducing S.B. 259, Madsen travelled to Colorado to try medical cannabis, which he said provided great relief for his chronic back pain. In 2007, Madsen says he was inspired by the families lobbying for legislation passed in 2014 legalizing high-CBD medical cannabis extracts for epileptic patients.

Utah: DEA Warns Rabbits May Stay High All The Time If Medical Marijuana Is Passed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With even the Mormon-dominated state of Utah now considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of cannabis, it's clear that change is coming everywhere, regardless of political stripe.

But last week, that didn't stop an agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from testifying to a Utah Senate panel that if the bill passes, the state's rabbits and other wildlife may "cultivate a taste" for marijuana and stay high all the time, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post .

"I deal in facts," claimed DEA Special Agent Matt Fairbanks, who's been working in Utah for a decade, as he warned the Senate of bhang-bombed bunnies. "I deal in science," said Fairbanks, who's a proud member of the "marijuana eradication" team in the state.

Fairbanks bragged about all the time he's spent pulling up back-country pot grows in the Utah mountains. He said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites, he saw "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana."

"One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone," Fairbanks claimed of one stoned bunny.

Apparently the spectre of high hares wasn't scary enough to keep the Senate panel from approving the bill; it was sent to the full Utah Senate, where it will be debated this week.

Utah: Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Forward


Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week

Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.

Senate Bill 259, from Sen. Mark B. Madsen, would create a state registry of medical marijuana patients who could possess and use marijuana. The bill would also direct the state of Utah to issue licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries to qualified patients.

“I am one step closer to legal access to my medicine,” said Christine Stenquist, a medical marijuana patient and executive director of Drug Policy Project of Utah. “Our elected leaders have an opportunity to help sick patients find relief and there is no excuse not to.”

“If medical marijuana can advance in Utah – with significant support from Mormons in and out of the legislature – it can advance anywhere in the U.S.,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Medicine is medicine, regardless of one’s politics, faith or views about drugs.”

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