While the people of Utah have spoken (when they voted to legalize medical marijuana last month), apparently the government is not listening.
In a stunning reversal of the will of the people, Utah has scrapped the bill passed by voters and replaced it with a gutted, muted down version of the original proposal.
Prop 2, the ballot initiative designed to create a medical marijuana market in Utah, was initially passed during the November election. However, immediately following the vote, it became clear a legal battle was on the way. With the mormon church making it clear they had serious grievances with some aspects of the proposal, legislators on both sides of government conveyed similar concerns.
It was decided that the government, in conjunction with the LDS church and members of the Utah Patients Coalition, would work tirelessly to come up with a revised plan that everyone was comfortable with.
Fast forward to the unveiling on the "new and improved" Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which most critics fear will significantly slow down any progress on advancing medical marijuana in the State of Utah.
"The Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints welcomed the opportunity to participate in a broad community effort to alleviate pain and suffering. Today, the passage of the Utah Medical Cannabis Act once again shows how organizations with diverse interests can come together to resolve difficult issues for the benefit of those who suffer while simultaneously protecting our children." - Marty Stephens, Director of Community and Government Relations.
What the citizens of Utah would soon to come to find out, the changes made to Prop 2 are not small and they are a big deal. It also raises the question of how much influence the Mormon church has over government and policy making in Utah. Separation of Church and State?