Utah legislature votes to stop state-run medical cannabis distribution system

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Utah legislature votes to stop state-run medical cannabis distribution system

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Earlier his month, the Utah State Legislature successfully voted to overthrow a state-run medical cannabis distribution system. During the session, both the House and the Senate voted to approve Utah’s cannabis bill amendment.

“This goes a long way toward honoring that promise” of medical cannabis for patients, said Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

The number of amendments made to Utah’s medical cannabis bill filled 122 pages of regulatory framework. Private businesses will be left to deal with distribution as per the vote, which will go into effect once it is signed by Governor Gary Herbert.

Overview of changes to Utah medical cannabis bill

Compromises were made on a bill that permitted 14 privately operated cannabis dispensaries in Utah – and potentially more – if it is required dependent on market demand under the Department of Health’s instruction.

“I think what we need to be talking about is what’s the process to ensure we have an adequate number of dispensaries. We’re having that conversation,” House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told FOX 13 in an interview Monday.

Perhaps the biggest amendment made to Utah’s cannabis bill was to eradicate a proposal that would have established a state-centralized cannabis delivery system. The proposed bill would have enabled registered patients to receive medicinal cannabis directly to their door. Lawmakers fought against it, arguing that it was not in-line with federal law.

The amended legislation, also known as SB1002, focuses on fixing the cracks that are currently delaying the rollout of legal weed in Utah. According to the details of SB1002, medicinal cannabis will be distributed among Utah’s legal market by March of next year.

Although the amendments to Utah’s cannabis law are promising, some speculate that not enough changes have been made to satisfy patient needs.

Utah Legislature approved non-cannabis bills to “pre-stage” heavy beer 

In addition to changes made to the regulatory framework of Utah’s cannabis bill, the Utah State Legislature was also busy approving amendments to permit the pre-staging of heavy beer sold at convenience stores and grocery shops. The deadline date is November 1.

Major drinks producers, such as Constellation Brands, are shifting their attention to profit from the rise of legal weed. In August 2018, Constellation invested $4 billion dollars in Canopy Growth Corp. to produce a range of cannabinoid-infused drinks. 

Some other companies that are developing cannabinoid-enriched drinks include Youngevity International Inc., the Alkaline Water Company, Phivida Holdings and New Age Beverages.