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420 with CNW – Utah Decides to Switch to a Private Medical Marijuana Distribution System

The subject of medical marijuana elicited heated debates between lawmakers, the medical community, law enforcement and other powerful groups, such as the Mormon Church in Utah. Eventually, voters approved Prop 2 during the 2018 midterms but this measure was quickly replaced by a law drafted behind closed doors. In the law, medical marijuana would be distributed through the state’s health system. In another change to the proposed system, the state has decided to ditch this distribution system and instead opt for a private network to do this work.

The state legislature will hold a special session in which an amendment to effect the change will be adopted.

If that change is approved, the “central till” envisaged in the medical marijuana law will be abandoned and in its place, a network of 12 privately owned and operated dispensaries will sell marijuana throughout the state.

The original plan in the medical marijuana law raised controversy when it proposed that all the medical marijuana should be sold through the state-level and local health departments. Many people felt that the plan would force state employees to become what the federal government describes as “drug traffickers” since the federal government doesn’t regard marijuana as a substance with any therapeutic use and has therefore maintained it on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

When the state government insisted on the central till model, the Attorney for Davis County and the one for Salt Lake City strongly advised their respective health departments to desist from distributing medical cannabis because their employees would be exposed to the risk of federal prosecution on drug-related charges.

Such strong opposition compelled the state to revisit its earlier position, and the result is the amendment to the medical cannabis implementation plan.

The amendment will also include a change to the finance management plan of the program. Previously, Utah had wanted all transactions to be cash-based, but a planned change will see provisions made for electronic payments to be accepted.

In a strange twist of irony, the medical marijuana plan which was approved by voters in 2018 mentioned a private system of distributing medical cannabis. However, this was changed when, without consulting voters, lawmakers agreed with the Mormon Church to use a state-run distribution system. The lawmakers have now had to turn full-circle and go back to the plan that voters approved last year.

Different pro-medical marijuana advocacy groups, such as Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, have welcomed the latest change. Analysts also believe that industry actors like Hemptown USA and HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) are also pleased that this change has been made.

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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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