A "Welcome to Utah" sign alongside the highway in the Southwest plains.

Nancy

Utah Advocates Prepping for 2018 Ballot Push for MMJ Expansion

Advocates in Utah are gearing up for a push to put a comprehensive medical cannabis question to voters in 2018 after state lawmakers failed to pass any reforms to the state’s limited regime during the legislative session, according to a Fox 13 report. The efforts will be led by Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) who expects the initiative process to cost millions.

“We’re looking at $600,000 to $800,000 just for the signature-gathering portion of this,” Christine Stenquist, TRUCE organizer, said in the report, adding that polling in the state favors a more robust medical cannabis program. “Then there’s the other million-and-a-half that’s going to be advertising and making sure we get the message out.”

Stenquist said the group is “answering a demand” and that their plan would allow for whole plant use that would include smoking and edibles.

“The legislators have failed so the people are taking this up,” she said. “This is a movement by the people, for the people, without a doubt.”

State Rep. Brad Daw indicated he plans on introducing comprehensive medical cannabis legislation next session and expressed concern that if the initiative is too broadly worded voters would reject it.

“I’m always concerned with ballot initiatives because this is something we have done a lot of negotiating with a lot of different stakeholders,” Daw, a Republican, said. “It’s kind of a bill that requires a lot of feedback from a lot of people you can’t get with an initiative.”

Gov. Gary Herbert has indicated support for expanding the state’s medical cannabis program but prefers to see it passed through the legislature.

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