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Utah lawmakers send marijuana-research bill to guv to sign

First Published      Last Updated Mar 10 2017 02:52 pm

Trojan horse? » Critic says it merely gives appearance of action on medical marijuana without doing much.

Research into medical marijuana could become legal in Utah, if not medical pot itself.

The House unanimously concurred Wednesday to earlier Senate amendments to HB130, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature or veto.

The House previously passed the bill 70-2, and the Senate had passed it 23-1.

The bill permits the study of cannabinoid products for medical use and creates a review board to consider potential recommendations for future marijuana policy.

Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, the Senate sponsor of the bill and a pharmacist, said review would be rigorous and would use standards similar to those used by the federal Food and Drug Administration.



In earlier debate, Vickers said the bill "does not dictate any kind of a policy as to what is legal and what is not…. It simply starts that process of allowing additional research to be done."

But after multiple attempts to legalize medical marijuana use in the state, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, earlier argued that his constituents view HB130 as a "Trojan horse."

The medical application of marijuana has already been studied extensively, Dabakis said, but with HB130 lawmakers are attempting to give the appearance of action to Utahns with chronic pain and terminal illnesses.

"This is simply a delay tactic for them," said Dabakis, who cast the sole vote against HB130. "These are people that are suffering right now."

But instead of a delay, Vickers said the bill is meant to be prudent. He said there are many unknowns regarding medical marijuana, including how a new administration in the White House will treat the drug, which remains illegal under federal law.

 

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