SALT LAKE CITY — Frustrated by what the Utah State Legislature may do to Proposition 2 next week, medical cannabis advocates warn that patients may go to Nevada to find relief.
“I expect people will say, ‘Screw this, we’re going to Wendover,’” said Christine Stenquist, the founder of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, a medical marijuana advocacy group. “I also expect people to continue buying on the illegal market. Especially when the bill passes, they’re going to feel very confident they should be using this.”
Voters approved Prop. 2 in the election earlier this month. But the legislature is preparing to vote on a “compromise” bill that would swap it out. House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, negotiated with Prop. 2’s sponsors, the Utah Patients Coalition and the Libertas Institute, as well as opponents including the Utah Medical Association and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The bill, which would swap out the ballot initiative, removes some of the more objectionable parts of Prop. 2, including “grow your own” and creates a state-run dispensary model. Supporters of the bill argue it preserves public safety and protects children, while also ensuring Utah has a medical cannabis program to provide relief to patients.
On Monday, lawmakers held a five-and-a-half-hour long hearing where public comment was largely opposed to replacing Prop. 2. Among their complaints: the state-run system might be too difficult for patients to access, physicians are the only ones who can recommend cannabis and voters approved Prop. 2.
“Desperate patients will go to Wendover to get what they need because their legislative body refuses to listen to them,” Stenquist told FOX 13.
West Wendover’s City Council voted last week to allow recreational marijuana sales. A dispensary will open in summer 2019.
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