Utah governor criticizes federal marijuana reform inaction

FILE - In this April 12, 2018, photo, a marijuana plant awaits transplanting at the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company near Shelton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s governor has criticized federal lawmakers for moving too slowly on marijuana policy reform.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that Gov. Gary Herbert says the federal classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug interferes with research into its potential medicinal uses and prevents regular pharmacies from dispensing it.

The classification puts marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD.

The Republican says the federal government “oughta be ashamed” for the “lack of action and attention” to the issue.

Utah voters passed a ballot initiative in 2018 to create a medical cannabis program and state legislators followed by instituting their own marijuana law.

Herbert says the state’s medical marijuana program faces policies that hinder doctors and federal banking restrictions forcing marijuana vendors to operate as cash-only businesses.

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1 Comment

  • Walter Appel May 24, 2019 at 9:12 pm Reply

    “Putting the states now in an awkward position of following the will of the people who want to have access to medical cannabis and yet, there’s the potential of violation of the law and banking laws because of inaction by the federal government,” said Gov. Herbert about Congress during his monthly news conference. “They ought to be ashamed.”

    Dude, oh my gawd, following the will of the people would have been supporting proposition 2 in a free-market model that wouldn’t have bumped up against preemption. Your compromise (HB3001, the ‘replacement’ bill) was intentionally designed to fail with the current federal laws.

    You all had a scope in which to draft a program that could work. You had 30 other states as examples but decided to implement something not achievable under current federal law.

    Your chiding is laughable.

    If Herbert really did support a change on the federal level he would get behind something more than banking.

    Why is it that banking is getting more attention than decriminalizing? The answer is in the question.

    Let’s not pretend that elected officials have people, patients, and community in mind otherwise decriminalizing would be the first effort, not solving the banking predicament.

    Remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act and decriminalize it.

    Above reaction (earlier today) by Christine Stenquist, President of TRUCE (Toward Responsible Use and Cannabis Education)

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