Michael Louie

Mormons, Lawmakers, and Cannabis Advocates Reach MMJ Compromise in Utah

Medical cannabis advocates and the Church of Latter-day Saints have come to an agreement over medical cannabis in Utah, no matter what happens with the state’s upcoming “Proposition 2” ballot initiative, according to a Deseret News report.

In the compromise agreement, which has yet to be fully disclosed, the most contentious provisions of Proposition 2 have been modified. For instance, a provision allowing home grows for those who live more than 100 miles from the nearest dispensary has been removed. Language in Prop. 2 that would have allowed someone charged with cannabis possession without a medical card to defend themselves in court if they could demonstrate they would have been eligible for a medical card has also been changed.

The compromise will also update the program’s dispensary model. While those involved couldn’t disclose the exact details, head of the Utah Patients Coalition DJ Schanz said that the model would now be a hybrid of the ideas from his coalition and state Sen. Evan Vickers’ centralized fill pharmacy model.

However, Prop. 2 is still on the table. Schanz has said he would “absolutely not” be walking away from Prop. 2 and the ballot initiative will be voted on in November despite any new developments. He said the compromise agreement was simply a collection of “modifications that are palatable” to whom he represents.

Michelle McOmber, who heads the initiative’s primary opponent, the Utah Medical Association, also said her organization would not stop campaigning against Prop. 2 either.

“There were only so many people around the table, right? So others will take a look at it at this point and they’ll have input. It’s not like it’s in a vacuum. You have two sides that are polar opposites and they come together and they negotiate, but it still goes through the (legislative) process that it goes through at that point.” — Michelle McOmber via the Deseret News

DJ Schanz cautioned that the agreement was still tentative and some kinks have to be worked out. However, legislator support for medical cannabis is a “huge step in the right direction,” he said.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has promised to call a special session to legislate medical cannabis after the ballots are cast in November.

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