Senate kills medical cannabis bill

Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, discusses his proposed medical marijuana bill on the Senate floor before it is ultimately killed in the Senate by a single vote, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 9, 2015 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Senate, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Legislation that would have legalized medicinal marijuana in the state was killed in the state Senate by a single vote Monday night.

Senate Bill 259, which passed a second substitute version of the bill in the Senate last week in a 16-13 vote, was defeated in its fourth substituted version’s third reading Monday night in a 15-14 vote.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, following the Monday nights vote, according to Fox 13.

Madsen said he was disappointed in the Senate and some fellow senators who he thought supported the bill. As well, he said he felt disappointed in himself for letting down the people the bill is meant to aid.

People will be seriously, seriously damaged over this next year because they don’t have this option,” Madsen said.

SB 259 would have allowed individuals with qualifying illnesses to be able to register with a state database in order to possess medical cannabis and related devices for ingestion. State-licensed individuals could also grow and sell medical cannabis.

Among the qualifying illnesses the bill list includes: AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Chron’s Disease, glaucoma, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other ailments.

Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, a pharmacist by profession, said in an email Friday that he felt the bill didn’t give the state enough oversight in the matter.

“It does not allow for the state to have any oversight for important things like money transactions, inspections of its manufacturing facilities, the testing and labeling of the product, patient counseling, verification that the prescription from the physician is valid, etc.,” Vickers wrote.

Vickers voted against the second version of SB 259 last week, and did so again Monday night when a fourth version was put forward. However, he said he wasn’t completely against the idea of medicinal cannabis.

A no vote doesn’t mean you aren’t intrigued with the idea, because many of us are, me included,” Vickers said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Some lawmakers, such as Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said they worried the bill could open the door to policy abuse. Gov. Gary Herbert has also said he worried that approving medicinal marijuana would open the door to recreational use.

“If the Legislature won’t do it, let’s have the people do it themselves,” Madsen said, suggesting the possibility of the public seeking medical marijuana legalization through a public initiative if their elected officials keep refusing to advance it on their end.

Ed. note: Representing Southern Utah: Sens. David Hinkins and Steve Urquhart voted in favor of the fourth version of SB 259; Sens. Evan Vickers and Ralph Okerlund voted against it.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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  • Real Life March 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    They voted no? Shocking.

    • sagemoon March 10, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      I know! I’m sitting here with my mouth hanging open in surprise.

  • ladybugavenger March 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm


  • Hugh Jass March 10, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Too bad they didn’t know how to argue it. If the sponsor would have written it saying that “God created all things on earth for a purpose”or that marijuana was created for such a time as this, even saying something to the effect of ‘every herb in the season thereof, all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving’, it may have passed.

  • ladybugavenger March 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Of course it would open the door to recreation use. Whats wrong with that? Marijuana does not kill people! People use marijuana and yet, you don’t hear of marijuana causing car accidents and deaths and people od’ing on it.

  • Mesaizacd March 10, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Wow the Mormon political machine voted no.! I’m just shocked beyond belief..

    • jaybird March 11, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Me too. Could you even imagine Orrin Hatch smoking weed when in Utah the norm is to get hooked on oxycodone and turn to heroin for pain reduction.

  • munchie March 10, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    A bunch of old mormon white guys voted no to medical marijuana, what a surprise. I really like all the lame excuses, “state oversight”, “policy abuse”, but at least they are “intrigued.”. This is a program that works in a lot of states and helps ease the pain of a lot of people, but I guess in ” holier than thou” Utah we’ll just have to endure.

  • Mesaizacd March 11, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Yeah them Mormons are not shy about their ignorance and bigotry

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