Summit County Council Member Has Concerns About Distribution Of Legalized Medical Cannabis

Jan 11, 2019

Credit Michael Fischer

As we’ve reported, the Utah Legislature’s approval of medical marijuana calls for county health departments to become dispensaries.

County council member Glenn Wright sees some problems, and even dangers, in that.

Wright told KPCW that there are a couple of local problems with the new marijuana law.

“For one thing, we’ll being have controlled substances somewhere under the control of the county health department. Do we really want us to do that with the current security situation at our county health building? We have people coming in for normal health procedures. I’m not sure if anybody wants a couple of guys with masks and automatic weapons to show up and say, ‘give me your drugs,’ while everybody else is there for health procedures. The other issue is its against federal law. For a county health department to become involved in that, there’s potential for us to lose federal funding, which is a majority of the funding for the county health department.”

While the state has given reassurances that federal aid won’t be shut off, Wright said they have an unpredictable Administration in Washington, D.C.

We asked him if Summit County could be a popular locale for distribution.

“I think based upon the election results in the county and I believe it passed by an overwhelming amount in Summit County, somewhere in the order of 70/30. There’s a desire by the population to have distribution in the county. I’m personally hoping that someone applies for a private distribution license to do it because I think there’s some dangers.”

Wright said the county could refuse to be a distribution outlet, but again citing the election, it looks like the citizens went marijuana to be available here.

He said there are a few things they might do under the law.

“There are several levels of licenses that will be distributed by the state. There’s growers, there’s processors, and there’s distributors. One thing we might consider doing in the future, we’re going to have to zone for it put it in a place where people can access it. Maybe we negotiate with the licensee you provide a place for the distribution. We’ll send our employee there and you can provide the security for it. That might be an option. It still doesn’t get us out of the situation where the state is requiring us to be involved in the distribution.”

Wright said it’s difficult to judge by the example of other state’s that have allowed the substance.

“None of the other states have adopted this format. It’s all in private enterprise in the other states. This is something brand new that the legislature in their infinite wisdom has decided to try. It’s kind of the DABC model, which I don’t think is a very good model either.”