Herbert calls special session to scrap state-run medical marijuana system

A hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Ore., April 24, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Don Ryan, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling a special legislative session to scrap an unusual plan for a state-run medical marijuana dispensary system following concerns that it could put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.

Herbert said in a statement Thursday he wants to make sure the program rolls out on time in March 2020 and that removing the requirement would make it more efficient. The special session will be Sept. 16.

Lawmakers have said they’ll switch to distributing medical cannabis through up to 12 private dispensaries instead.

The law had called for distributing some through private dispensaries and the rest through publicly run state health departments.

Advocates have cheered the move away from a state-run central fill, but some worry the state will need more private dispensaries.

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