Utah: Gov. Herbert Forecasts Medical Marijuana Legalization


While Utah Gov. Gary Herbert didn’t exactly predict when “they” would legalize medical marijuana, he did inform a middle school classroom full of kids, “I think it’s going to happen.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Herbert received a rather intriguing question from an inquisitive student at Riverton middle school. There to support the student’s hard work and civil engagement, Herbert provided a rare opportunity for a small group of future voters to ask a broad-spectrum of thoughtful questions.

Queried by the teens about Utah’s swelling population, and its residual urban sprawl, Gov. Herbert was eventually asked by one inquiring mind whether the state would legalize medical marijuana.

Ben Winslow, a Fox 13 Now reporter, was on hand for Wednesday’s Q&A.

After declaring that medical marijuana will eventually be legalized in the Beehive State, Winslow tried to ask Gov. Herbert an important follow-up question: would medical marijuana be legalized through the legislative process or through the passage of this November’s medical marijuana ballot initiative?

Deferring to science and citing federal concerns, the governor clarified his position:

“Let’s get the science done, the research done, have it as a controlled substance prescribed by a doctor, and certified by a pharmacist as a controlled medical substance. I think that’s the way to go.”

Sadly for those suffering from a host of debilitating diseases, cannabis is currently categorized as a Schedule I narcotic within the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Which seems more than a little odd to the angry mob of sick and suffering voters in the Beehive State when the United States Department of Health and Human Services has a patent on the plant’s cannabinoids as a treatment for a host of neurological diseases.

Up for debate over the last two years by the Utah legislature, the state’s elected officials have anxiously pondered the medical marijuana question while ignoring the will of the people.

According to an October 2017 poll performed by Dan Jones and Associates and published by the Salt Lake Tribune, an overwhelming majority (75%) of Utahns support the manufacturing, prescription, and sale of cannabis products in nonsmokable forms. But so far, Utah’s lawmakers have resisted acknowledging the wisdom of the request.

In need of 113,143 signatures before April 15, the Utah Patients Coalition announced Jan. 3 they have gathered 85,000 of the necessary signatures.

Utah’s attempt to legalize medical marijuana was first rejected by the Utah State Senate in 2015 – by a single vote. Undeterred by that narrow defeat, in 2016, two bills were written to legalize medical marijuana in the Beehive State. Senate Bill 89, which was authored by Sen. Evan J. Vickers (R-72nd District) and Rep. Brad M. Daw (R-60th District), and Senate Bill 73 authored by Sen. Mark B. Madsen (Libertarian-13th District) and Rep. Gage Froerer (R-8th District).

While both bills were passed by Utah’s Senate, S.B. 73 was ultimately defeated by the Mormon church’s opposition, and S.B. 89 ran out of time when Utah’s lawmakers adjourned the 2016 legislative session without passing it.

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.


  1. We would love articles about the history of legislative efforts to legalize medicinal cannabis in Utah to quit quoting the defeat of SB89 in 2016 as a failure of reform efforts.

    In fact, SB89 was a “torpedo bill” written to draw support away from SB73 written by opponents which could never have worked in practice – and its passage would have set back efforts to create a workable Utah program for many years, and its defeat – along with the withdrawal of SB211 in 2017 – both supported by weasely Republican legislators Brad Daw (who lately seems to be attempting to cash in on the CBD phenomenon) and Evan Vickers (a pharmacist) are among the small but important victories groups like TRUCE Utah have achieved as we move toward a hopeful vote on the proposed ballot initiative in 2018.

  2. And I thought Utah, being the most religious state, would had been the last state to expect legalization of marijuana. And by that, I don’t mean- Utah being the last state to actually legalize marijuana. I thought, and I hoped Utah would never legalize marijuana. If it does, I will no longer refer Utah as the most religious state. And if the laws don’t matter in Utah being the most religious state, then I will find it to be a serious problem in the religious community because the largest religious community in any state will become a religious community in a cannabis state.

  3. What’s the issue with religion and cannabis? Where does it say in the Bible or Quran that it’s evil or anything? That you go to Hell if you smoke it.

    More likely Heaven if you DO smoke it, given you’ll be kinder to others.

    The Mormon church, being more of a cult than a religion, might prohibit it as part of their social control program, but that’s not for religious reasons.

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