SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House of Representatives passed a resurrected bill that would make the state grow medical marijuana for terminally ill patients.
House Bill 197, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, died on a narrow vote last week but was resurrected on Tuesday. He insisted the legislation was a necessary companion to House Bill 195, which gives terminally ill patients a “right to try” medical marijuana.
“This bill becomes the way to supply a genuine cannabis medicine for both those programs. We need to pass this bill if we want to have patients the ability to try both under right to try and under research,” he told his colleagues in the House.
The bill requires the Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food to grow marijuana that would be dispensed to patients under the “right to try.” While some lawmakers flipped their votes this time around, others remained concerned.
“We expect to follow the order of law and with passage of this, we would be in noncompliance with federal law,” said Rep. Derrin Owens, R-Fountain Green.
Rep. Daw’s bills are being run ahead of a potential ballot initiative that would greatly expand who can use medical marijuana in Utah. The initiative would have a variety of different treatment methods and expand it to a number of patient conditions. Signature gathering is under way to get it before voters on the November ballot.
The ballot initiative was top of mind as lawmakers debated HB197.
“There is evidence of unintended consequences that occur if you open up these floodgates all at once, or too quickly,” said House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville.
House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, announced he was flipping his vote to