The debate over medical marijuana in Utah will continue Monday after lawmakers ran out of time debating the issue Friday, the Associated Press reported. The Mormon church has come out against proposed legislation that would allow for marijuana use in edible or vapor form for medical purposes.
Republican Sen. Mark Madsen, who himself is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sponsored Senate bill 73 and said it would not allow for a “Dr. Feelgood to come and specialize in pot medicine.” Madsen added more restrictions to his bill Friday in hopes of winning over votes. The Mormon church came out against the measure two weeks ago.
“We agree with groups such as the American Medical Association, who have said that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are advanced. For these reasons, the Church urges a cautious approach,” the church said in a statement.
Another bill in Utah, Senate bill 89, would allow for the use of marijuana-infused oils and has not been opposed by the church. The bill does not allow for the use of products containing THC, the active chemical in cannabis, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported. SB89 passed Friday with a vote of 26-3 with one of the bill’s sponsors acknowledging its more incremental approach.
“We need to be careful how we do this, otherwise we'll only duplicate the pitfalls other states have experienced,” said Sen. Evan Vickers, according to KSTU-Fox 13.
A majority of Utah residents favor the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. A poll conducted by UtahPolicy from Feb. 10 to 15 that surveyed 625 adults showed 64 percent support for legalization for medical purposes. The poll had a 3.92 percentage-point margin of error.
The vote scheduled for Monday is expected to be close. Supporters of Madsen’s bill have said they would work on a ballot initiative to bypass the state legislature if necessary. Over 20 other states now have medical marijuana programs.