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Utah Lawmakers To Vote On Competing Marijuana Plans

Utah Lawmakers To Vote On Competing Marijuana Plans

By Zachary Babin - February 19, 2016

Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawmakers on Friday will consider two competing marijuana plans, including one that recently received a significant blow when the Mormon church announced opposition to it.

That proposal would allow tens of thousands of residents with certain chronic conditions to consume edible pot products but bans smoking pot.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said last week that it worries the measure would have unintended consequences. Supporters said they worried that opposition would be a heavy blow to the measure because the majority of Utah lawmakers are members of the church.

The bill would put Utah in line with more than 20 other states with medical marijuana programs, according to its sponsor, Republican Sen. Mark Madsen of Eagle Mountain.

He introduced a similar proposal last year that failed to pass when lawmakers cited concerns it hadn’t been studied enough.

Madsen argues his medical marijuana plan is needed to give its citizens the freedom to alleviate their pain.

Lawmakers who may be reluctant to embrace Madsen’s bill could be more open to a much more restrictive plan from two other Republicans.

That plan would allow those with cancer, AIDS and other similar conditions to use a cannabis extract that has very low levels of the plant’s psychoactive components. Sen. Evan Vickers of Cedar City and Rep. Brad Daw sponsored the bill and say they expect only a few thousand people will be eligible for the program.

It would set up strict controls on licensing and tracking of those who produce and dispense the extract.

Both proposals will be debated and face a preliminary vote in the Senate on Friday morning, as lawmakers have said they want them to be considered in tandem.

If approved, they must face a final Senate vote and then move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Associated Press