Salt Lake City goes on the offensive against medical cannabis

Salt Lake City goes on the offensive against medical cannabis

The young legal cannabis industry in Utah is still facing a multitude of challenges since the partial legalization of medical cannabis in 2014. Although medical cannabis patients and providers in Utah still have a long way to go until they will enjoy the full potential of the emerging medical cannabis market in the state, two determined lawmakers are already making meaningful steps towards protecting cannabis-related interests.

In 2018, the state of Utah has adopted a regulatory plan that handles medical cannabis in the same way as prescription medication. Despite that, many residents from several cities across the desert state have allegedly been discriminated against based on their status as a medical cannabis patient.

A number of local governments do not seem to be in favor of the new normalized status of medical cannabis in Utah. Several municipalities in the state have actively questioned citizens reported to be registered medical cannabis patients about their medical status and the exact medication they are using for their treatment, going as far as punishing employees who admitted to possessing a medical cannabis card.

According to Desiree Hennessy, the executive director of the Utah Patients Coalition, the municipalities that have participated in this medical pot witch hunt had no valid reason at all to engage in such practices since state-wide legislation is crystal clear in regard to the legal status of medicinal cannabis.

"Despite the clear legal framework supporting their rights, several public employees have still faced unwarranted discrimination and removal from positions for simply exercising their lawful right to access medical cannabis."

In response to these incidents, Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla, the representative of Salt Lake Citys’ District 10 and one of the most influential lawmakers in the state of Utah, has forwarded Senate Bill 233, which will cut significant amounts of funding to municipalities that display patterns of discrimination against medical cannabis patients. Although facing hefty opposition from both in and outside Utah’s legislative committee, senator Escamilla has one powerful ally on her side, Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickens, whose influence among local Republican lawmakers could have the bill passed in the following months.


Image by TravelScape on Freepik



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