The Quest For Medical Cannabis: Is The State Legislature Out Of Step With Utahns?

Jun 30, 2017

Credit National Institutes of Health

A Utah interest group spearheading a campaign to legalize medical marijuana claims it has support from most Utahns. 

A poll released by the Utah Patients Coalition in June shows that almost 3/4 of Utah voters would say yes to a measure to establish medical marijuana.

“It means that we have a lot of tail wind. We feel very confident and we have a very high likelihood of passing this in November of 2018,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients. Schanz believes growing compassion towards those suffering from conditions like chronic pain and epilepsy is driving the trend.

“When it hits personal and close to home, people can see the effects of these unfortunate laws that hurt some of the most vulnerable in our society,” Schanz said.

State Representative Gage Froerer wasn’t shocked by the poll’s results.

“No big surprise: polls over the last several years have shown we have public support for medical cannabis,” he said.

Despite broad public support for medical marijuana, Rep. Froerer claimed the state Legislature hasn’t followed suite.

“The last three or four years would indicate that they don’t,” he said. “We haven’t had the support anywhere near 70 percent and if that number would’ve existed in the Legislature I don’t think they would’ve had to do the referendum”

While the Legislature authorized limited cannabinoid research this year, a Senate measure seeking to establish a product infrastructure for cannabis failed. That means Utah would be unprepared to distribute medical cannabis.

“My feeling is, if this does pass, that the Legislature will have to go back and take a look at the infrastructure issue and come up with a suitable plan that will meet those requirements of the referendum,” Froerer said.