After a volatile several months, Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced that voters will decide this fall whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.
“I, Spender J. Cox, Lieutenant Governor, do hereby declare the UTAH MEDICAL CANNABIS ACT initiative sufficient to be submitted to the voters of Utah for their approval or rejection.”
The announcement came on Tuesday after the final count of signatures was in, which included those who asked, or were persuaded by decidedly unsavory tactics, to have their names removed.
“We’re ecstatic that our opponents’ efforts to thwart the democratic process failed and we’re looking forward to having a robust and hefty debate in the coming months, and hopefully have voters side with us that there is indeed a place for medical cannabis and we should stop criminalizing these patients,” said DJ Schanze, director of the Utah Patients Coalition that shepherded the MMJ petition to where it is today.
Less than two weeks ago, Utah Patients Coalition was prepared to square off in court with the Drug Safe Utah, associated with the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum and local DEA over the hiring of paid canvassers who went knocking on doors to persuade people into removing their signature from approving the MMJ initiative for a vote.
Lt. Governor Cox put an end to the discussion by stating that sufficient signatures were gathered and opponents could not kick the initiative off the ballot.
This is Lt. Governor Cox’s tweet, which he introduced as “The moment you’ve all been waiting for.” It shows that the medical marijuana initiative collected 153,894 valid signatures statewide in 27 of 29 state Senate districts – more than enough.
“We are pleased to learn that our opposition’s shady tactics to remove signatures and mislead the public … were unsuccessful,” said another supporter of the initiative, Connor Boyak, president of the Libertas Institute.
“It’s time for Utah voters to take the issue into their own hands,” said Boyak, per the Salt Lake Tribune.