Nurse practitioners, physician assistants can recommend medical cannabis in latest draft of Prop. 2 replacement bill

SALT LAKE CITY — In an apparent response to public pushback, lawmakers have modified the bill crafted to replace Proposition 2.

The latest draft published on Friday night allows nurse practitioners, physician assistants and high-level social workers to recommend medical cannabis to qualifying patients. Previously, it was going to be limited to physicians with prescribing authority only.

The bill also includes a modified definition for patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The legislature will meet on Monday in a special session to vote on the bill, which will replace the voter-approved Prop. 2. The bill came about from high-stakes negotiations between opponents and supporters of the initiative, as it became clear Prop. 2 was headed for passage. Those involved in the negotiations included The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Utah Medical Association, legislative leaders and Prop. 2 sponsors Utah Patients Coalition and Libertas Institute.

Utah law allows the legislature to amend or repeal a ballot initiative. Sponsors of the citizen referendum said they agreed to negotiations knowing that many lawmakers opposed it. A large percentage of those lawmakers were re-elected in the same ballot that voters approved Prop. 2.

It’s led to a split amongst medical cannabis advocates. Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) has already threatened a lawsuit if the legislature swaps out what voters approved in Prop. 2.

Supporters of the “compromise” bill argue they still get a medical cannabis program, but it also ensures public safety and protects children.¬†On Friday, Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, announced he’d try to replace the compromise bill with his own, Prop. 2-friendly bill. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, told reporters earlier this week she also had a bill to preserve Prop. 2.

Read the latest draft bill here (refresh the page if it doesn’t immediately load):