ST. GEORGE — The Libertas Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing the cause of liberty in the state of Utah, will hold a public forum on proposals to legalize medical cannabis Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George.
According to a press release from the Libertas Institute, this will be the third in a series of public forums on the issue. The first, which was held in Ogden, focused on the law enforcement aspect of legalizing medical marijauna. The second, held in Provo focused solely on patient stories.
Thursday’s forum will be more of a general event, Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack said, adding that it will broadly touch on a lot of the issues.
In March, legislation that would have legalized the use of medical marijuana, Senate Bill 259, was narrowly defeated in a 15-14 vote.
Speakers at the forum will include Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs and the bill’s sponsor, Christine Stenquist, executive director of Drug Policy Project of Utah, Dr. Mike Wilson, a local resident whose daughter passed away due to complications from a brain tumor and David Doddridge, a retired narcotics officer.
In the press release Sen. Madsen said:
“I’m eager to participate in these meetings. For Utahns like me who sincerely believe in individual liberty and limited government, and who are interested in learning about medical cannabis, these public forums will be invaluable. People need to become informed and weigh in if we are ever going to stop government from making decisions for people that are better left to them and their physicians.”
A recent poll has found that there is broad public support in Utah for legalizing medical marijauna — 72 percent of the public supports it, Boyack said, but he added, while there is definite support they are hoping to get more people involved with showing their support to their legislators.
“Ultimately this is a human issue. When you share the stories of those who are suffering it becomes hard to say ‘no’ to them,” Boyack said. “Think of how many people it will affect. Not only 10s of thousands of Utahns but their spouses and families.”
A new version of the bill will be introduced in the 2016 legislative session, Boyack said and both he and Sen. Madsen are excited to share what is being planned.
Ed. note: The fourth and final substitute of SB 259, the Medical Cannabis Bill, failed in the Utah Senate 14-15 on March 9. Southern Utah Sens. David Hinkins and Steve Urquhart voted in favor of the bill while Sens. Ralph Okerlund and Evan Vickers voted against it, although Okerlund voted in favor of the second substitute bill earlier, on March 3 vote – which also failed. The bill never made it to the Utah House of Representatives.
Read more: Senate kills medical cannabis bill
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.
- What: Medical Cannabis in Utah: St. George Public Forum
- When: July 16, 7 p.m.
- Where: Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George
- Cost: Free
- Additional information: Register here
- Medical Cannabis in Utah: St. George Public Forum | Facebook event page
- Medical Cannabis in Utah: Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice and Banking Regulations | Watch the forum on YouTube
- Medical Cannabis in Utah: Healing, Curing, and Alleviating Medical Conditions with Cannabis | Watch the forum on YouTube
- Senate kills medical cannabis bill
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