Medical marijuana, death penalty repeal bills fail to advance in Utah legislature

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The only medical marijuana bill to advance in the Utah State Legislature is dead this year.

In the end, it wasn't lawmakers who voted down Senate Bill 89 -- it was the budget. A $3 million fiscal note was attached to the medical cannabis bill, and the legislature did not budget for it.

"We can't run it through this year, we don't have the money for it," SB89 co-sponsor, Rep. Brad Daw, told FOX 13.

Daw, R-Orem, said he planned to bring the bill back next year.

"It is what it is. This is a big policy, and frankly something this big sometimes takes a couple of years to pass," he said. "So we'll work on it over the summer, we'll make sure we've got it right. We'll try to bring more information and work on it more next year."

House Republicans met in caucus earlier in the day and support for SB89 appeared mixed. When asked who didn't want to debate the medical cannabis bill, about half the hands in the room went up.

Backers of medical marijuana told FOX 13 that with the death of SB89, they were moving ahead with a political action committee and a ballot initiative in 2018.

House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said in an interview Thursday he did not believe the House triggered that ballot initiative.

"I think the interest in a ballot was going to come whether that was heard or not," he said.

Meanwhile, the other big bill still in the House of Representatives on the last night of the legislature may not be heard. Senate Bill 189, a repeal of the death penalty, may not be debated before the midnight deadline.

Earlier in the day, there was confusion when the bill was pulled from the House GOP caucus agenda. One lawmaker told relatives of murder victims lobbying against SB189 that it was pulled from consideration in the legislature.

Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, who is co-sponsoring the death penalty repeal bill, said it was still moving forward -- but admitted he may not have the time to get it debated.

"We're awfully late. We are very, very late. On the last day of the session to be having this kind of a conversation, but people are still working it, people are still talking about it, but we'll see where it ends up by midnight," he said.

The House Speaker told FOX 13 in an interview Thursday night he supported a repeal of the death penalty.

"I worry about giving the government the power to execute citizenry, even if we think that heinous crimes deserve it," Hughes said.

Supporters of the death penalty like Linae Tiede Coats, a victim of death row inmate Von Lester Taylor, said she was glad the bill would not be heard.

"I just feel relieved, just grateful that there's going to be more time and thought put into the bill," she said.


  • Chad Sperry

    Vickers and Daw have stood to profit from this from the beginning. That’s why it died. Glad to see it hit the voter ballot.

  • malcolmkyle

    Jesus specifically told his disciples to “anoint” people. That anointing took place using a specific formula made from a recipe found in the Old Testament book of Exodus.

    That recipe (Exodus 30:23) includes about 6 pounds of “kaneh-bosen”.

    According to many biblical scholars, “kaneh-bosen” was/is Cannabis (Marijuana).
    Most of the diseases mentioned as being healed miraculously after anointing are, curiously, the same ones that cannabis can heal today. Things like epilepsy, leprosy, and “crooked limbs” (an obvious reference to multiple sclerosis).

    Exodus 30:
    23 Moreover, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even 250 shekels, and of qaneh-bosm [cannabis] 250 shekels, 24 And of cassia 500 shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy anointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thous shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offerings with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.

  • wick308

    It seems that some UTAH residence are in the mind set that Marijauna is a dangerous drug. It’s like they show the film “Refer Madness” and someone is going to eat glass under the influence of cannibus. This is false, and I have said this before. We are trying to medically make this legal not recreational. I see it work on Combat Related PTSD.. On MS (my brother has MS) alcahol is legal and so addictive the detox will literally kill you.. You can stop using cannibus that day and not go through a second of detox.. But prescription opiates you have to spend time in a detox center. The side effects from Wellbutrin and Venoflaxin used to treat PTSD is so bad for you.. Not to mention the benzo’s we get addicted to.. So enough of the BS folks.. Medically legalize it.. Opiates are medically legalized, same with forms of cocain.. Anfedimine for ADHD.. All more dangerous!! That’s all I have to say.. Just stupid to demonize something that helps so many

  • Josh Daniels

    The real story is that SB73 (Madsen’s bill) actually was funded from the very beginning. It’s financing mechanism was not dependent on an ongoing appropriation and he made sure it would be funded for the first year. Had it passed it would have been funded. SB89 (Daw/Vickers bill) had no such mechanism and they didn’t ensure they had an appropriation. This was either intentional on their part or just an oversight (aka legislative negligence).

  • Tina a

    Don’t you think that bringing back Dental Health Care to Medicaid patients is more beneficial right now than marijuana? I don’t disagree against marijuana at all. I’m just saying marijuana doesn’t cure toothache or rotting teeth to those everyday working Americans but can’t afford dental plan how can one work with teeth pain to support their family? Utah’s one of the most richest state but un willing to help. I am disgusted to live in Salt Lake City .

  • little white girl

    I knew it was too good to be true. Every drug overdose, every soldier suicide, every suffering cancer patient. Their blood is on your hands.

    • wick308

      I concur. I am a combat vet who broke his neck in Iraq.. I have come close just from chronic pain and combat related PTSD have tried to self terminate. I was luckily found befor I died unconscious and hanging from a rope. I was saved. I took all the meds the VA gave me and wheat to several programs for PTSD. Now I feel like a criminal because I use cannibus to sleep so the nightmares stop. And I used to take opiates for the plate in my neck and now I use cannibus which is safer. I don’t know, I have always been a boyscout so to speak now I feel like a bad person

  • Pen Dragon

    And of course they will never let the public vote on it. Thank you for showing us you do not care what the people want.

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