A bill to allow limited forms of medical marijuana in the conservative state of Utah was narrowly defeated by a 15-to-14 vote on Monday.
Senate Bill 259 was introduced by Sen. Mark Madsen after he went on a fact-finding mission to Colorado to try medical marijuana to alleviate severe back pains he was experiencing. If passed, the bill would have allowed patients access to medical marijuana only if they were suffering from certain qualifying conditions, such as cancer, severe seizure disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS, and glaucoma. Medical marijuana patients would not have been able to smoke or vaporize the actual flower from the cannabis plant, but rather they would have access to cannabis-infused products, tinctures, and oils.
Although both conservative Republicans and Democrats in the senate joined forces in support of the bill, some senate members who are medical professionals by trade were able to persuade a number of moderate Republicans that medical marijuana needs more research and testing by appointed doctors and state agencies before a bill could be considered or passed.
Don't hit the panic button yet. The fact that the vote was even this close is a positive sign. Five of the six senators that spoke against the bill said they want to allow marijuana for medical use eventually.
Even Sen. Vickers, R-Cedar City, a registered pharmacist who voted against the bill, said, "A ‘no’ vote doesn't mean you aren't intrigued with the idea, because many of us are, me included."
Sen. Madsen vowed he would continue the fight for medical marijuana in Utah, adding he intends to file similar legislation next year.
Utah has already approved an extremely limited bill that is intended to allow children diagnosed with epilepsy access to CBD oils, a cannabis-derived extract.