A Senate Committee has approved a bill that would make medical marijuana legal in Utah.
Sen. Mark Madsen’s SB259 would allow for the growth, distribution, and sale of certain cannabis products to people suffering from a small list of medical ailments, such as cancer, glaucoma, and chronic pain. Dozens of people wanted to testify in favor of the bill, but due to time constraints only a few were allowed to speak before the committee. Christine Stenquist has a brain tumor and has been using medical marijuana for three years.
“I’m willing to speak publicly about this issue, and put my freedom on the line, because I don’t believe anyone should have to suffer like I did because of bad policy," she says. "More importantly though, I’ve been using cannabis and becoming an active participant in my life again.”
The bill passed out of committee by a vote of 3 – 2. Sen. Todd Weiler was on of the two no votes.
“I’m a bit concerned," he says. "I think the bill, the bill draft came out yesterday and we’re debating it today. This is something, this is such a major policy shift, I would have liked this to be addressed during the interim to get as much stakeholder buy in, et cetera.”
While officials from several state agencies testified at the meeting, none took a final position. But the chairman of the State Tax Commission, former State Senator John Valentine did say they wouldn’t be able to implement this bill as it currently stands.