Utah Lawmakers Say Medical Cannabis Should Be Treated Like Any Other Medication

Some Utah cities have reportedly removed first responders from their jobs for consuming medical cannabis, prompting backlash from medical cannabis activists and state lawmakers alike.

Full story after the jump.

Utah medical cannabis activists and state legislators are concerned that cannabis is not being treated like other medicinal controlled substances despite the state’s successful medical cannabis voter initiative and a series of legislative actions to regulate the product, Fox 13 reports.

The problem involves a “small group of cities” that are “disallowing their employees to still use medical cannabis,” Utah Patients Coalition Executive Director Desiree Hennessy told Fox 13.

Police officers and firefighters who obtain medical cannabis cards have been removed from their jobs in some cities, the report says. Legislators heard testimony on the issue on Wednesday in a Government Operations Interim Committee hearing.

“The original intention of the legislature has always been that you do not punish someone for being sick or using medicine properly, as prescribed.” Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R)

To begin to address the problem, lawmakers endorsed a proposal that would “double down” on Utah‘s commitment that medical cannabis should be treated like any other drug. However, the proposal would only cover government workers — not the private sector.

Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, who oversees medical cannabis legislation for the Republican caucus, told Fox 13 that he “would like to see private industry, if they have policies regarding controlled substances, then they follow that same law with cannabis.”

But, in a state where legislators prefer a hands-off approach when it comes to private business, “The only thing we can foresee that would fix the private employee’s issue is education and the experience of having employees use medical cannabis,” Hennessy said.

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