Two cannabis colas about to be harvested inside a Washington cultivation site.

Rory Savatgy

The Utah Medical Association has come out in opposition of the ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis in the state, saying that the initiative’s supporters are “misrepresenting and misappropriating” the position of the medical profession in the state, according to a Salt Lake Tribune report.

“This initiative is not about medicine. … Supporters have used images and stories of suffering patients to disguise their true aim, opening another market for their products and paving the way for recreational use of cannabis in Utah.” – Utah Medical Association in a Friday statement via the Tribune

The statement comes on the heels of Gov. Gary Herbert coming out in opposition of the initiative.

The initiative would create a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state with a start date of Mar. 1, 2020. The legislature has recently passed two medical cannabis-related bills but neither allows broad access. In February, the legislature passed a measure allowing the state Agriculture Department to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, and the following month passed a “right to try” bill that would allow patients with less than six months to live access to medical cannabis products.

In his opposition statement, Herbert said the February bill “promotes medical science and public safety in ways absent from [the] initiative petition.” The governor also voiced concerns that the petition, if approved, “would potentially open the door for recreational use.”

In a statement to News4Utah, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) Utah noted that the UMA does not speak for all of the state’s physicians and said their statement is “riddled with deliberate misinformation and fear-mongering.”

The ballot initiative is led by the Utah Patients Coalition who announced last month that county clerks had verified 120,000 signatures, and the Lt. Governor’s Office verified another 117,000 – far exceeding the 160,000 signatures required to put the issue to voters in November.

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