Utah Governor signs bill to replace Proposition 2, the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters last month

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The legislation designed to replace Proposition 2, known as the Utah Medical Cannabis Act or House Bill 3001, was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor on Monday. The bill was initially presented as a compromise deal between state legislators, Utah Prop 2 supporters (such as the Utah Patients Coalition, Marijuana Policy Project, and Libertas Institute), and opponents (such as Drug Safe Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Utah is one of 11 states that have no restrictions on legislative alterations for ballot measures.

Proposition 2 was put on the November ballot through a citizen initiative petition and approved by 53 percent of voters.

House Bill 3001 made a number of changes to the original measure passed by voters. Among others, HB 3001:

  • Removed the provision allowing patients to grow their own marijuana;
  • Reduced the number of dispensaries allowed; and
  • Required dispensaries to employ pharmacists to recommend dosages.

HB 3001 made some changes to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment It limited some qualifying conditions to specific illnesses (it allows treatment for HIV or AIDs but not other autoimmune disorders, for example). It added others, including:

  • Terminal illness for those projected to have less than six months left to live; and
  • A condition resulting in a patient receiving hospice care.

Elder Jack Gerard, a General Authority Seventy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said “We support medicinal use of marijuana with safeguards… [but] Proposition 2 goes too far… Our position is, we can build a better solution than what Proposition 2 offers.”

Former Salt Lake City mayor and attorney Rocky Anderson said he was considering legal action regarding the legislature’s move to replace Proposition 2 with the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Anderson wrote, “Although initiative statutes may be amended or repealed by the Legislature, the almost immediate extreme undermining of numerous provisions of Proposition 2 at the behest of The Church of Jesus Christ is anti-democratic and contemptuous of the … recognition in the Utah Constitution that the people are to have the power to enact legislative changes.” TRUCE, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, was listed as one of the Proposition 2 proponents represented by Anderson.

Ballotpedia has more on this.

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