Considered a compromise, a piece of legislation has been enacted in lieu of the proposal approved by Utah voters in November.
As a result, some professionals for the justice system are attempting to figure out how to move forward while residents are fighting to put the altered legislation in front of voters for approval.
US Attorney for Utah John Huber is currently reviewing the new measure enacted by the legislators, planning discussions with his partners and attempting to find the best way to enforce laws in his coverage area.
Huber’s main concern is the federal ramifications for a law such as this, considering the fact that federal law continues to prohibit marijuana use, production, distribution, and transportation. However, the new legislation for medical marijuana use in Utah sets specific protocols for use, distribution, and production but ultimately permits something that remains federally prohibited.
Huber noted that the current justice system handles marijuana cases on a monthly basis. Recent legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana use in nearby states has created a steady traffic of money and product through Utah, which puts a strain on the resources available to keep Utah residents safe and laws upheld.
Therefore, the focus moving forward needs to be on monitoring the drug use in the state, ensuring it is only used by those who have medical conditions that qualify them for the treatment and that marijuana is not being transported in large amounts.
Meanwhile, three Utah residents, led by Steve Maxfield of Kanosh, have filed petitions with the Utah Supreme Court to both overturn the law and reinstate Proposal 2, the measure approved by voters at the November election, and also to put the amended legislation to a vote by the state’s voters.
Maxfield, along with Bart Grant of Monroe and Daniel Newby of Taylorsville, are fighting for citizens’ rights to change legislation through the referendum or initiative process. Maxfield is the head of a group called The People’s Right, and his stance is that the people need clarification on whether they actually have the right to change the government, or whether that is simply a farce the government presents to citizens.
Maxfield’s application for a referendum was already rejected, with the court citing a two-thirds majority vote by legislators as the reason the legislation is valid. The emergency petition to allow state residents to vote on the finalized measure that became legislation has not received a formal response yet.