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Utah GOP rejects medical marijuana resolution

SANDY -- Delegates to the Utah Republican Party state convention rejected a resolution in support of medical marijuana.

In a 70% to 29% vote on Saturday, the party delegates voted down the resolution in support of cannabis to treat a number of medical conditions. It came after a vigorous debate on the convention floor both for and against it.

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"This is about freedom and choice," said DJ Schanz, who brought the resolution to the party delegates.

DJ Schanz speaks in favor of a medical cannabis resolution at the Utah GOP state convention on May 20, 2017. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

Supporters told stories about people with medical needs and how cannabis has or could help them. Opponents called it a "gateway drug" and believed it could bring recreational marijuana to the state.

"This is not a medicine," said Dr. Paul Clayton of the Utah Medical Association, who is also a GOP delegate and spoke against the resolution.

The resolution comes as the Utah State Legislature has been grappling with medical marijuana in recent years. A small number of bills have passed the legislature, but lawmakers have been reluctant to pass any policy that would make it legal in the state.

Supporters of medical cannabis have said they are moving ahead with gathering signatures and raising money to get the issue on the 2018 ballot.

Earlier this month, FOX 13 reported that the Utah-Nevada border town of West Wendover is contemplating a medical marijuana dispensary, with an eye toward potential recreational sales. The town of Mesquite already has a medical marijuana dispensary. Nevada voters last year approved a ballot initiative for recreational marijuana.