Like many other states, medical marijuana laws in Utah allow patients suffering from severe epilepsy to use cannabidiol (CBD) oil to relieve symptoms. And like many other states, that’s the only legal type of cannabis. While that is not likely to change anytime soon, legislators are at least taking a look at how marijuana would be grown and distributed if more widespread use is ever approved.
A story that appeared in the January 27, 2017 issue of The Salt Lake Tribune reported that there will be no bills to legalize expanded use of medical marijuana in the state during the coming year. However, they appear to be laying the groundwork for potential medical legalization. For example, SB 211 would authorize the cultivation, sale, possession, use and production of cannabis. One of the main reasons that legislators decided to table the issue, according to the article, is that they were uncertain how the new presidential administration would enforce federal weed laws.
Meanwhile, advocates who want to change Utah marijuana laws vow to press on. A poll conducted by the paper showed that 54 percent of Utah residents favor legalization of medicinal cannabis, while 43 percent are in opposition. The paper reported that the survey consisted of 605 registered voters across the state and had a four percent margin of error.
In an effort to put medical marijuana on the ballot during the 2018 election, the Utah Patients Coalition have been collecting signatures of individuals who would benefit from a medical cannabis program.
It appears that the only way to change medical marijuana law in Utah is to work toward a ballot initiative to take the issue to the voters. A pollster who conducted the survey said that he has seen an increasing amount of support for legalizing medical marijuana in Utah, and he told the Tribune that he believes more people are accepting of cannabis as medicine because they are learning more about it, as well as how the distribution of the plant would be controlled.
According to the poll, the majority of Mormons in the state who consider themselves “very active” in their religion are in opposition to legalizing medical marijuana. On the other hand, those who say they are less active favor legalization. Republicans oppose legalization, while independents and Democrats favor it in large numbers.
Even though the state’s neighbor, Colorado, legalized pot for both medical and recreational uses, Utah marijuana laws remain quite strict. Possessing even a small amount — less than an ounce — can lead to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If a person is convicted of the same offense a third time, they are guilty of a third-degree felony. The punishment for this type of crime is up to five years in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.
We hope Utah medical marijuana laws will someday change to reflect a common sense approach. Instead of limiting access to just a select few patients, we hope they expand it so people suffering from a wide variety of conditions can find the relief they so desperately need. Check back with MarijuanaDoctors.com often, and we’ll keep you updated on developments.