Utahns were hoping for expanded medical marijuana legislation during the 62nd Legislature, instead, state lawmakers on Friday called for “additional research” on the efficacy of the plant’s many cannabinoids.
Historically a crimson-red electorate, after Utah became a CBD-only state in 2014, an October 2016 poll indicated 63% of those surveyed wanted to see whole plant medical marijuana legalized in Utah. With federal uncertainty ahead, Gov. Gary Herbert and the 2017 Gen. Assembly are taking a “wait-and-see” approach on how the new administration may handle other medicinal states before moving forward with any new legislation.
Regardless of which state was first to demonize the cannabis plant’s image, ultimately helping to make it a taboo substance for research within the Controlled Substance Act, over half the country has since legalized it medicinally while Utah still contemplates its therapeutic applications.
Cannabis was first banned in 1915 in the Beehive State and since then Utah policymakers haven’t made much progress. Ending last week by announcing they’d be rolling back their efforts to cultivate new legislation, and instead, asking for research on a plant that is still misclassified as a Schedule I Narcotic.
Willfully ignoring the existing scientific evidence, Utah’s “leaders” would instead defer to the Utah Medical Association who conveniently view medical marijuana as little more than a subjective fantasy, according to the Associated Press:
“The Utah Medical Association, an influential group on Utah’s Capitol Hill, helped lead some of the push against expanding marijuana use. The group has said more research is needed and that anecdotal stories about patients being helped by marijuana does not make it a medicine.”
Early zealots in the anti-marijuana crusades, Utah’s GOP have consistently rejected most acceptable forms of medical marijuana, except for CBD oil, and only in cases of severe epilepsy. Vowing future efforts, (R) Rep. Gage Froerer noted, “This does not mean that this is off the table for the foreseeable future.”