Medical marijuana

Cannabis used for medical purposes as on Friday, May 31, 2019. 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling a special legislative session to scrap an unusual plan for a state-run medical marijuana dispensary system following concerns that it could put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.

Herbert said in a statement Thursday he wants to make sure the program rolls out on time in March 2020, and removing the requirement would make it more efficient. The special session will be Sept. 16.

“My administration is dedicated to ensuring that quality, medical grade cannabis products are accessible to patients by March of 2020,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert in a press release. “Removing the requirement for a state central fill pharmacy will provide efficient and timely distribution of this substance for those who need it.”

Lawmakers have said they’ll switch to distributing medical cannabis through up to 12 private dispensaries instead.

The law had called for a distributing some through private dispensaries and the rest through publicly run state health departments.

Advocates have cheered the move away from a state-run central fill, but some worry the state will need more private dispensaries.

According to the press release from the governor’s office, issues expected to be addressed during the special session include the following:

  1. Amendments to medical cannabis laws to repeal requirements regarding a state central fill pharmacy and other amendments necessary to ensure the efficient and safe implementation and operation of the state’s medical cannabis program;
  2. Amendments to the Utah Election Code regarding the date of the 2020 primary election and technical amendments;
  3. Amendments to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act regarding the transportation and storage of certain heavy beer prior to November 1, 2019;
  4. Legislative approval of and appropriations for the settlement of lawsuits against the state;
  5. Amendments to certain tax incentives regarding the review required by an independent certified public accountant and technical amendments;
  6. Appropriations for the 2020 United States Census and
  7. For the Senate to consent to appointments made by the Governor.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!