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Utah: Proponents Of 2018 Medical Cannabis Ballot Measure Achieve Signature Milestone

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 3, 2018

    Proponents of a proposed 2018 medicalization initiative have gathered an estimated 160,000 signatures and appear poised to place the measure on the November ballot.

    Last week, a representative from the Lt. Governor’s Office said that officials have already validated 117,000 signatures from registered voters — more than than the 113,000 necessary to qualify for the state ballot. Proponents of the measure, the Utah Patients Coalition, still have approximately two more weeks to collect additional signatures.

    The Utah Medical Cannabis Act permits qualified patients to obtain either herbal cannabis or cannabis-infused products from a limited number state-licensed dispensaries.

    In recent days, both the Utah Medical Association and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert have publicly opined against the measure. Nonetheless, public support in favor of the initiative remains strong, with 77 percent of Utahns either “strongly” or “somewhat” endorsing the plan, according to a March UtahPolicy.com poll.

    In 2014, Utah became the first non-medical cannabis state to explicitly permit qualified patients to possess CBD-infused products. However, that law provided no legal in-state supply source or distribution for the products. This legislative session, lawmakers approved separate legislation permitting the Department of Agriculture and Food to contract with a third party to cultivate cannabis for the purpose of manufacturing marijuana-infused oils and other related products, but only for those patients who are terminally ill.

    Utah is one of at least four states where voters are anticipated to decide later this year on marijuana-related ballot proposals. Oklahoma voters will decide on June 26 whether or not to approve State Question 788 — a broad-based initiative that permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their sole discretion. NORML endorsed State Question 788 in January. In Michigan, proponents of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act have turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot. State officials must certify a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters. According to a March 2018 EPIC-MRA poll, and commissioned by Michigan NORML, 61 percent of voters say that they would vote ‘yes’ on the measure “if the election were held today.” In Missouri, backers of a voter initiated effort to legalize and regulate the therapeutic use and distribution of cannabis statewide have surpassed well over 200,000 signatures. Advocates must collect a total of 160,000 qualified signatures in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts by May 6, 2018 in order to qualify the measure for the 2018 electoral ballot.

    6 responses to “Utah: Proponents Of 2018 Medical Cannabis Ballot Measure Achieve Signature Milestone”

    1. Julian says:

      Paul,
      Recently at my local pharmacy in Texas I saw CBD products being sold, specifically “Innovative CBD.” I bought the Natural Salve but concentrations of CBD are so low I suspect mislabeling. They claim to import their hemp from Spain.
      I thought selling “hemp oil” was legal under federal law but “CBD oil” was not? The pharmacists I talked to were interested in feedback and wrote down my link to the Laws tab on this website.

      What should I tell them besides “The DEA’s lawyers are too busy getting hired by Big Pharma to sue themselves”?

      [Julian: For decades so-called hemp oil products referred oils derived from non-germinating hemp seeds. These products are high in Omega 3s and EFAs, much like flax seed oil. These products are legal. By contrast, so-called CBD oil or hemp-derived oils today typically refer to products that either contain or allegedly contain active cannabinoids, such as CBD. As such, the DEA, Congress, and FDA interpret them as containing a federally controlled substance and thus, they are illicit federally. Some manufacturers have challenged this interpretation explicitly in instances where these products are derived from legal US hemp crops that are in compliance with the Farm Act, and their arguments were recently heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But no decision has yet to be rendered.]

      • Julian says:

        Thank you, Paul. Your answer was exactly I as expected… leaving more questions than answers 🙂
        Keep up the good work!

    2. Anon says:

      Another exciting election to look forward to this year. I have big hopes for all of these, and we really need Michigan to plant another seed in the middle of the country, Ohio should follow suit.

    3. Julian says:

      I’m really impressed by whats happening in Utah. Voter initiative in the lands of Orin Hatch and Mitt Romney?
      And all these CBD companies may be mislabeling and deceptive, but it really smacks of corporate hubris. It’s like pharma companies are saying, “I just hired the DEA’s best lawyers, so we’re just gonna sell whatever we want.”
      The irony is no matter what patented synthetics are sold, people want whole plant cannabis. And thats a boldly growing consumer demand that will always be more powerful than the synthetic Pharmacites trying to slap a weed leaf on some fake synthetics.

    4. carl says:

      democracy could even triumph, despite resistance from the lapdogs, unelected misguided officials,
      and corrupting influences of an untaxed muliti billion $ prohibition black market..
      [calif 2017 black market worth; $13.5 billion..]

      imagine what you could buy with the untaxed black market billions from the entire usa..
      perhaps, even those elected to represent the people, the majority of whom support
      cannabis law reforms..

      and of course the odd unelected attack dog..

    5. Mark Mitcham says:

      One simple way to participate is to collect signatures. I only collected a drop in the bucket’s worth, when I did it, and it was nothing to brag about. I was not paid; I was not aggressive. But those people who did sign did so enthusiastically, and were grateful for the chance.

      It was an honor to give a voice to those citizens, and I was empowered, in return.

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