Utah’s Proposition 2, which aims to legalize medicinal uses of marijuana, is a subject of extreme controversy. While some citizens believe that the legalization of medical marijuana will greatly benefit the state, others see it as damaging and undesirable. But recently, both sides have been moving toward an agreement regarding what a medical marijuana policy should look like.
This agreement includes suggestions for altering some of the more controversial provisions in Proposition 2. One of the groups involved in penning this agreement was the Utah Medical Association (UMA). The CEO of the UMA, Michelle McOmber, has a history of strong opposition to the bill. She told Desert News that she and her group were present while the agreement was being discussed. McOmber says that the UMA’s suggested alterations were ones that “we feel would be much safer and still be compassionate and answer the needs of patients.”
The alterations they eventually agreed upon were, as she recalls, reached “based on the safety of Utah, and the safety of kids, and the safety of patients,” and that it drew from “some of the better practices from other states.” Besides the UMA, plenty of other groups were present at the compromise, including the Utah Medical Association, Utah Patients Coalition, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Liberates Institute.
So, what did the compromise change? Quite a few things. First, the initial policy that would have allowed citizens living over 100 miles away from a dispensary to grow their own cannabis was thrown out. Regardless of citizens’ distance from a dispensary, they cannot grow plants for themselves. They also made changes to very controversial provisions of Proposition 2 that would have admitted a new kind of defense for marijuana possession charges. People facing these kinds of charges would have been able to defend their cases by showing that they’re eligible for a medical cannabis card even if they don’t have one.
They also have made sure that dosing of medicinal cannabis products will be regulated and stay consistent. The UMA has been known to attack the Proposition’s dosing provisions, and McOmber said, “It’s going to be in medicine format rather than the Wild West format that you see in the initiative.” A few other changes were made to how medical marijuana would be dispensed, but the particularities of this move have not yet been made clear.
Despite the alterations and agreements that supporting and opposing groups have made regarding Proposition 2, it doesn’t look like anyone has changed their mind. Opposing groups have merely tried to make the bill more bearable in the event that it does pass, whereas supporting groups have tried to keep the essence of its largest provisions intact. No one seems to have moved further away from their initial stance.
What’s next for the agreement? Of course, these agreements will not automatically change the Provision itself. Lawmakers need to be called into a special session to look over the suggested alterations. It helps that groups from both sides of this polarized issue have agreed upon the changes, but what lawmakers do from that point on, we can’t be sure.