Governor Gary Herbert has now stated that he is open to the idea of adding Utah to the list of states where marijuana is legal for medical use. This came as a bit of a surprise after he made some negative comments during the discussion over a 2015 bill regarding the subject.
Herbert has now clarified that he simply has two concerns. One is that he wants to be certain that there is scientific evidence supporting claims that the plant does in fact help certain medical conditions. The other concern is that any proposed bill will include appropriate measures for control.
The governor sees Utah as a state that generally takes a positive stance toward nontraditional methods of addressing medical issues as long as they are backed by good science. For example, the state has already approved low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis oil extractions for use in treating seizures as well as some other conditions.
The 2015 legislature has now ended, so those lawmakers who introduced it this session have time to put together a more thorough proposal for 2016. Even with the current format, it failed passage by just one vote, which gives proponents hope for next year.
As Connor Boyack, president of a libertarian think tank called Libertas Insitute, says:
“We completely agree with the governor that this policy should be well thought-out and we’re spending an entire year doing just that so that when the legislature takes up the issue again, a lot of the unresolved questions and concerns are resolved.”
This leaves good reason to think that it will be a more detailed bill that makes it to the 2016 legislature as well as one that will likely be approved.
photo credit: Trent Nelson of The Salt Lake Tribune