By William “Stash” Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection
January 28, 2017 – Utah decided Friday not to move forward with legislation that would have created a strict medical marijuana program in their state. Instead they will push through bills that will allow research at the state and federal levels and begin looking at a structure for a production and distribution network to be implemented at a later date.
“This does not mean this is off the table for the foreseeable future. It means this year we’re going to take a break. We’re going to look at the research. We’re going to look at the infrastructure,” Rep. Gage Froerer, who was the sponsor of legislation last year, said at a news conference with three other lawmakers.
Froerer also indicated the stance taken by the incoming Trump administration weighed on their decision. The political climate in Utah is also not steady. They want to wait until the President’s position, and other political leader’s positions, are made clear.
“Knowing what the political climate is, knowing what the political landscape is here in the state of Utah, looking at what our stakeholder’s interests are, and looking at trying to make some progress this year, I felt it’s in the best interest of…my particular bill to not move forward with a policy decision at this time,” Froerer explained further during the press conference.
Sen. Evan Vickers of Cedar City pointed out that the money for the research and development of a dispensary and supply system would cost money, which will be a tough sell to his colleagues in a year with a slim budget.
But, if legislators fail to act, a ballot initiative is likely, according to legalization advocates.
“If they are unwilling to listen, or the legislatures unwilling to act, then its time for the people to act and we need a ballot initiative on this,” Connor Boyack of the Libertas Institute, a libertarian focused organization told Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City.
They plan to gather signatures to get a measure on the 2018 ballot.