A "Welcome to Utah" sign alongside the road with several sandstone monuments on the horizon behind it.

Kai Lehmann

Utah Advocates Have Enough Signatures to Put MMJ Question to Voters

Utah voters will likely have a chance to consider legalizing medical cannabis this November, according to a Fox13 report. The Utah Patients Coalition told the station that county clerks have verified 120,000 signatures, while the Lt. Governor’s Office has verified another 117,000 – far exceeding the 160,000 signatures required to put the issue to voters.

DJ Schanz, a member of the advocacy group, said the coalition is “continually encouraged by the numbers.”

“We’ve been surprised that the more conservative rural areas have actually been extremely supportive. They’ve seen the effects of the opioid epidemic more than anybody.” – Schanz to Fox13

The ballot measure is far more expansive than the so-called “right to try” medical cannabis approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert last week. Rep. Brad Daw, the sponsor of the right-to-try legislation said his constituents want a medical cannabis program but “not the wide-open program” outlined in the initiative.

“We’re taking it a step at a time, whereas the initiative takes it not only a step to medical cannabis but way beyond it.” – Daw to Fox13

In the report, Gov. Herbert declined to say whether he would vote for the initiative but expressed support for a medical cannabis program.

“I do believe that people support marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I’d support it, too. I just want to have science behind it making sure we understand it does do something good. Not just an anecdotal. … You’ve got to read the initiative, it’s not just do you support marijuana for medical purposes. The devil’s in the details as they say.” – Herbert in the report

Three polls have each found strong support for medical cannabis in Utah. A December Utah Policy poll found 73 percent support, while another by the organization in September found 74 percent support. An August poll by Dan Jones & Associates commissioned by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Salt Lake Tribune found 78 percent support – a supermajority.   

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