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State & Regional

Medical Marijuana Agreement Reached With Utah Legislature

Libertas Institute

The Libertas Institute has worked for years to legalize the use of medical cannabis in Utah. In a surprise pre-election announcement, the organization announced the agreement they’ve struck with the Utah Legislature to allow medical marijuana use starting December 1. Carolyn Murray has this:

Proposition 2 asks voters to decide if they want to legalize medical marijuana in Utah. The outcome of that vote no longer matters because after long negotiations, the president of Libertas Institute, Connor Boyack and Utah Speaker of the House, Greg Hughes have arrived at a compromise. Boyack said the agreement they’ve settled on meets the goals of his organization.

“We tried legislatively a few time, that failed, decided to take it to the ballot initiative for which the Utah Patient’s Coalition was then formed. But, a new opportunity presented itself to still achieve our goal which is a broad patient program for medical cannabis and to do it in a way to bring all the opposition to the table. I mean, just a few weeks ago, that entire press conference they did with all of the opponents there, like all of those groups now support this agreement. And, this agreement is just about 90 percent of what is in Prop 2.”

Boyack said now that they’ve reached an agreement, the program won’t be continuously attacked by opponents for years to come.

“And, patients can be recuperating at home rather than being lobbyists and activists. I think that’s a huge win.

Boyack said they went into the negotiations with distrust and skepticism. He said not all sides love everything about the agreement, but it will allow patients to get what they need.

“Lots and lots of conversation and figuring out how to get there. We ultimately did and a large part of the credit goes to the speaker, to Greg Hughes, really trying to broker a deal and find a way that it was a win-win solution."

The new agreement defines a list of approved conditions and dosing forms, which will be legal beginning the first of December.

They compromised on the number of private dispensaries which allows for five to 10 facilities statewide. The growing and processing operations would be privately owned. But, Libertas also agreed to a state sponsored delivery system which is the first of its kind in the country.

“There’s going to be the concept called the state central fill medical cannabis pharmacy. And, what that is is a government owned dispensary, for lack of a better term. And doctors can call in the order for your cannabis medicine. It would then be shipped out within 24 hours.”

Under this system, patients in remote areas would pick up their prescriptions at a local clinic.

Cannabis is classified under federal law as a schedule one narcotic, so physicians can’t prescribe it without the risk of loosing their medical license.

“The way this greement is set up is that when a physician recommends treatment for cannabis, which is just free speech. A physician can recommend chiropractic treatment or acupuncture or loosing weight. It’s just a matter of speech.”

He said most doctors in Utah won’t be familiar with dosing practices. He said the pharmacists will ultimately have better recommendations for patients and the physicians will become educated over time as more of their patients try the cannabis treatment options.

Boyack said it’s an embattled issue in Utah and it is up to the public to hold politicians to the agreement.

“Now I’ll say from these private conversations, that it will. We have no reason to doubt. Now, I’m a naturally skeptical person. I’m a libertarian. I do think everyone’s operating in good faith. I think this agreement will be passed.”

They’ve published a list of the key differences between Proposition 2 and the new agreement. It’s on libertasutah.org. along with a link to the entire document. 


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