Gov. Herbert signs medical cannabis amendments into law

FILE - This Monday, May 20, 2019, file photo, shows a marijuana leaf on a plant at a cannabis grow. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Gov. Gary Herbert has added his signature to Utah’s revised medical cannabis law, delivering the final blow to a proposed distribution system that would call on public employees to hand out the substance.

The marijuana amendments, approved last week during a special session of the Utah Legislature, did away with the state-run dispensing system and doubled the number of private cannabis pharmacy licenses. To reach patients in far-flung locations, the bill also allows for home delivery of the substance.

Lawmakers said the emergency fixes were necessary so the state’s cannabis program could ramp up on time and put marijuana treatments on the market in Utah by March 2020.

Herbert’s endorsement put the measure into effect immediately, since it passed both sides of the legislature by a unanimous vote.

The governor also signed a special session bill that permitted state grocery and convenience stores to pre-order heavier beer as they prepare for new state provisions to kick in. State lawmakers earlier this year agreed to permit higher-strength beers in the state’s stores starting in November, and retailers wanted to stock up in advance of the change.

Herbert put his name on several other measures passed in the special session — one setting aside $1 million for census preparations and $1.5 million for a settlement with former Attorney General John Swallow; legislation for tax incentives related to independent certified public accountants; and one to change the date of the 2020 primary election.