May 14, 2018, Utah
Utah is considered as a conservative state when it comes to cannabis. However, medical cannabis has been legalized in the state in some way since 2014. Last month, the MMJ advocate group in the state gathered enough signatures to have a vote on Utah Medical Cannabis Act in the ballot initiative of November. The bill entails the opening of 15 MMJ dispensaries in the state that would sell MMJ oils and buds. The bill would also categorically ban the administration of MMJ through smoking.
Utah Patient Coalition is the advocacy group that in collaboration with Marijuana Policy Project successfully gathered over 200,000 signatures in the support of the act. The state’s governor office has verified more than 150,000 of them. To make the MMJ act part of November ballot, the group had to gather 113,143 signatures from the registered voters of the state.
A Campaign for the Removal of Signatures has Begun
The governor hasn’t authorized the addition of bill in the initiative so anti-cannabis groups have started a door-to-door canvassing to urge people to remove their signatures from the petition. They are trying to convince people by spreading misinformation that they have signed a bill that would legalize weed (cannabis) and not MMJ.
Utah medical association has commenced a campaign against the initiative with the name ‘Drug Safe Utah’. However, no one was expecting this aggressive door-to-door campaign from them to discredit the act through lies and half-cooked information.
A video has also emerged on the social media where an anti-cannabis canvasser is asking a resident to withdraw his support from the MMJ act petition. Cannabis advocacy groups have shown great concern on these dirty tactics.
Utah Medical Association has refuted the assertions that they are behind this canvassing. They have refused to acknowledge the lady in the video who was canvassing while wearing the badge of ‘Drug Safe Utah’. Mark Fotheringham, vice president of the association, says that they are trying to establish the identity of the woman who is trying to disparage their legitimate movement against legalization of cannabis.
The association maintains that they have provided a legitimate set of talking points to voters against the legalization measure, which are also available on their website. Their argument emphasizes on the assumption that legalization of MMJ is just a tool to pave way for recreational cannabis.
They also allege that cannabis advocacy groups have misguided people on the issue of medical cannabis. The act has 28 pages but the majority of the signatories don’t know about the basic provisions of the proposed legislation. On the other hand, MMJ opponents claim that the association is trying to persuade young voters to withdraw their signs from the petition by telling them that they will not still be able to consume MMJ through smoking joints.
A representative of an MMJ group says that they have always been aware of the reservations of Utah residents. That’s why they introduced a conservative bill and didn’t include any stipulation hinting towards the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]