Utah Proposition 2 - Medical Marijuana Initiative

As the largest parent advocacy organization in the state, Utah PTA cares deeply about the health and well-being of all of our children. One of the purposes of PTA is to advocate for laws that further the physical and mental health, welfare, and safety of the children and youth of this state. When that safety is threatened, we respond with action.

As an organization, Utah PTA believes several guiding principles should lead the discussion on marijuana. First, we support laws that send clear messages to youth and adults not to smoke, vaporize or eat marijuana products. Marijuana use can damage the developing brain, cause addiction, affect memory and impair motor skills. We champion drug policies that establish clear standards and promote a healthy workforce free from impairment and addiction. We do however also acknowledge data that shows specific patients may achieve medical benefits from components in the cannabis plant, and we support further research toward providing patients access to pharmacy-dispensed, non-smoked cannabis-based medications.  

After examining the proposed 28-page legislation of Proposition 2, Utah PTA has found the Medical Cannabis Initiative is not in accord with our guiding principles. There are several ambiguities that cause us great concern.  While we do support further research and legislation toward making cannabis-based medications more available, we do not believe this Proposition effectively accomplishes that task, rather, it puts the children and youth of Utah at risk for greater harm.

Speaking on behalf of those children and youth, we urge Utah’s voters to vote no on Proposition 2.

 

 

REASONS UTAH PTA OPPOSES PROP #2 (Talking Points - also attached in downloadable pdf)

  • Dosage is not determined by a licensed physician: The licensed physician "recommends" a patient receive a medical cannabis card, but the patient determines dosage and strength on their own.  Cardholders may obtain two ounces of unprocessed cannabis, an amount equivalent to about 177 joints; or up to 1,000 servings of THC (a psychoactive substance that produces a high) every two weeks.
  • Cannabis will be exempt from sales tax. This will add a substantial fiscal burden on state and local governments. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimates enacting the initiative will require $1.1 million from General State Revenues plus an additional $400,000 in on-going funds.
  • Patients or designated caregivers will be able to purchase, possess, and transport cannabis, a cannabis product, or a medical cannabis device without having a Medical cannabis card until the Inventory control system is in place. Any criminal charges for the use or possession of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or marijuana drug paraphernalia during this time will be removed if it can be proven that the patient or caregiver will qualify for the medical cannabis card. There is concern recreational use will increase during the interim. The initiative requires the system to be in place by March 1, 2020.
  • After January 2021, a cannabis cardholder or designated caregiver who does not live within 100 miles of a dispensary may grow up to six plants for personal medical use. The initiative does not give provisions for how these plants will be regulated for THC levels and for safety from pathogens, heavy metals, or pesticides.
  • The location of dispensaries are allowed to be zoned within 600 feet of a school, church, public library or public park. That is less than one city block and less than current zoning laws for smoke and vape stores.
  • Research shows states that have legalized cannabis have higher youth use rates than those states where it is illegal. Utah PTA advocates for ALL children. Some research shows cannabis can be successful helping children with medical challenges, but it has also been proven to lower IQ in developing brains. Cannabis is MEDICINE and should be treated as medicine. We feel that Prop #2 does not adequately protect ALL our children.. (See  https://researchcannabisutah.weebly.com/uploads/1/1/9/9/119989687/5._you...)