When Utah is mentioned, most people think of Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital. Salt Lake City is also where the Winter Olympics were held in 2002, and Utah is currently pushing to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. Although this would garner tourism and boost the economy, Utah shouldn’t focus on hosting the Olympic games when they could instead focus on their sick and suffering residents in desperate need of medical marijuana. Utah lawmakers have been dragging their feet on implementing a medical marijuana program, despite widespread effort by activists and advocate groups such as Utah Patients Coalition, TRUCE, Libertas Institute and the Marijuana Policy Project.
Pushing for a Progressive Change:
According to a poll conducted in September 2017, 74 percent of Utah residents support a state medical marijuana program, which demonstrates resident acceptance of cannabis as medicine. However, Utah lawmakers have chosen to ignore residents’ needs, including children who would greatly benefit from medical marijuana—particularly cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid known to treat many medical ailments.
Thus far, the Utah Patients Coalition (UPC) has led Utah’s campaign to establish a medical marijuana program for suffering residents, particularly children with various seizure disorders. Due to Utah’s legislative inaction, advocate groups like UPC have taken matters into their own hands by introducing a citizen petition. This petition would set up a medical marijuana (non-smoking) program, in which a limited number of registered growers would provide marijuana to be prescribed by a limited number of doctors for specific diseases and/or chronic pain, according to Utah Policy.com.
However, for Utah’s petition to qualify for this year’s ballot, the campaign must collect 113,000 signatures from registered Utah voters by this April. Additionally, at least 10 percent of those voters must be in 26 of 29 Utah Senate districts.
Utah Marijuana Laws: