Despite the controversial nature of medical marijuana, Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) is sponsoring a bill to legalize it in Utah.
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The passage of the bill, SB259, would allow qualified Utahns to use marijuana in edible or liquid forms to help with certain medical disorders.
Other members of the legislature didn’t meet Madsen’s bill with his optimism. Several senators said there is no rush to get medical marijuana legalized.
Morgan Lyon Cotti, with the Hinckley Institute of Politics, said the conservative climate of Utah is a powerful force working against SB259.
“The most interesting thing about this bill is the amount of emotional support it has had,” she said. “This bill is supported by so many people from so many different backgrounds who are wanting to see the bill’s passage to benefit sick individuals across the state.”
Students at the U mirror these strong feelings found in the community. Margaret Carlson, a senior in biology, said real solutions will be found when our elected officials stop arguing.
“I think often the things that can be most beneficial to the public get lost in the arguments between legislators,” Carlson said. “There are so many horrible diseases out there that people need relief from. If a tool exists that can help people, by all means we need to use it responsibly and effectively.”
Those who oppose the medical marijuana bill say it is not safe to use a drug that is not FDA-approved when there are other alternatives. In addition, there is a fear that using marijuana will lead to the use of harder drugs.
Proponents of the bill say just because medical marijuana is not FDA-approved does not make it more dangerous than alternatives.
The next step for SB259 is to go before the Senate for a third reading. If the bill receives enough support, it will move to the House. If it does not, it will be suspended.