The opponents seeking to block voters from weighing in on a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana withdrew their lawsuit on Monday, after asking a judge in May for an emergency ruling to stop the initiative.
The withdrawal clears the path for what is perhaps the most contested measure that will be on Utah’s ballot in November, yet which has strong support among voters.
Blake T. Ostler, an attorney for the group Drug Safe Utah, which is led by the Utah Medical Association, said he believed there was an issue with challenging the measure before voters weigh in. The challenge lacked what, in legal terms, is called “ripeness.”
They may sue to overturn the law if voters approve it, contending the measure may be gaining support with voters because they don’t know what’s in it.
“Expecting the voters of the state of Utah to read it and understand it as is required by law is a very tall tale,” Ostler said. “They’re getting media reports about what this does and making decisions about it.”
Ostler also said he filed to withdraw the lawsuit because things are moving quickly at the federal level, where cannabis with more than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive ingredient THC is illegal.
“This is a ramrod of people who stand to make billions of dollars to be able to exploit people the same way tobacco growers and opioid manufacturers did,” Ostler said. “This is not in the medical interest of those who need medical marijuana if there are appropriate uses that can be designated.”
Congress has taken action to allow cannabis and products with no more than 0.3 percent THC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved a cannabis-based drug