Utah House Passes Measure Allowing Ag Department to Grow MMJ

The Utah House has passed a measure allowing the state Agriculture Department to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, according to NPR-affiliate KUER. The measure just met the minimum of 38 votes required to pass the chamber; 32 were opposed.

The measure was championed in the House by Republican Rep. Brad Daw, who said the legislation, paired with the companion “right to try” bill which passed the House last week, provides a mechanism for medical cannabis to be grown for terminally ill Utahns.

“This bill becomes the way to supply genuine cannabis medicine for both of those programs. So we need to pass this bill. If we want to have patients’ the ability to try, both under ‘right to try’ and under research under an institutional review board.” – Daw to KUER

The reforms come as advocates seek to put a broad medical cannabis use proposal to voters in November. In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters must submit more than 113,000 valid signatures to the Secretary of State’s office that meet the requirements of Utah’s ballot initiative law. That law requires sponsors to “collect the signatures of registered Utah voters from each of at least 26 of the 29 state senate districts equal to 10 percent of votes cast for US President in that district.”

Earlier this month, Utah Policy reported that state lawmakers may consider adopting the ballot initiative’s language as a bill and passing the measure with language preventing it from taking effect until the federal government reclassifies cannabis as a Schedule IV drug – the move would effectively invalidate the petition.

Medical cannabis is popular in Utah. Three polls, dating back to August, have found at least 73 percent support for medical cannabis access in the state.

The cannabis cultivation measure moves to the Senate for consideration.

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