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Marijuana Moment

Utah voters approve medical marijuana legalization ahead of compromise deal

Thousands of ballots sit in boxes as Utah County election workers process the mail-in ballots for the midterm elections on Tuesday in Provo, Utah.George Frey/Getty Images

Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.

With 57 percent of precincts reporting, the initiative, Proposition 2, has passed, Fox 13 News has projected.

“The passage of Proposition 2 illustrates just how broad support has grown for medical marijuana in the U.S.,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement to Marijuana Moment. “Even in socially conservative states like Utah, most voters recognize marijuana has significant medical value, and they believe it should be available to patients who could benefit from it.”


But because the main campaign behind the measure reached a deal on compromise legislation with opposing groups last month, legal medical cannabis was in effect an inevitability in the state. Under the agreement, state lawmakers will soon convene a special session to enact a law allowing patients to access medical cannabis.

Here’s what Proposition 2 would have accomplished, as written.

Under the measure, individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder can obtain a recommendation for cannabis from a physician. There’s a separate process, which requires approval from a five-member board of physicians, that patients can go through to get a recommendation if their condition isn’t listed.

Patients won’t be allowed to smoke cannabis. They can purchase up to two ounces of unprocessed marijuana or a marijuana product containing no more than 10 grams of THC or CBD during a 14-day period.

There is a provision that allows medical cannabis cardholders to grow up to six plants for personal use if they live more than 100 miles from a dispensary—but that doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2021.


Patients won’t be subject to state or local marijuana taxes under the law. Rather, the program will be funded through licensing and registration fees imposed on cannabis businesses.

The main campaign backing the measure was the Utah Patients Coalition, which received support from advocacy groups including the Marijuana Policy Project and TRUCE Utah.

Drug Safe Utah, an anti-legalization group that counted the Utah Medical Association, the Mormon Church and others as coalition members, was the main opposition committee. It was accused of spreading misinformation about the measure.

Following the compromise deal, however, fundraising on both sides slowed or ceased—with the exception of Drug Safe Utah, which reported significant contributions in the last half of October.

Read the full story on Marijuana Moment.