Utah’s House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would allow universities in the state to study medical marijuana without federal approval.
The House voted 70-2 to pass House Bill 130 (HB130) on Tuesday, and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The only two lawmakers who voted against the bill were Reps. Curt Webb, R-Logan, and John Westwood, R-Cedar City.
Lawmakers stated that research showing benefits of marijuana extracts on people may lead the state in the future to allow careful, controlled use of the medical marijuana by qualified patients.
Sponsor of HB130, Republican Rep. Brad Daw of Orem, argued that states that have allowed medical marijuana usually have done it backwards, deciding it is medicine before proving that with appropriate research. He said his bill gets the order right.
"We'll play legislator. We'll let them [physician researchers] play doctor," he said. "Good data makes good decisions. Let's get some good data so we can make good decisions."
Previously, the lawmakers had announced that they would not try to legalize medical marijuana this year on account of the uncertainty of whether President Donald Trump's administration would enforce federal marijuana laws.
HB130 would allow researchers who conduct institutional review board-approved studies to possess and administer cannabinoid products to an individual involved in the study, as well as import the products and marijuana for the study from another state as long as they comply with federal law and are obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In the U.S., twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. have allowed medical marijuana for certain health conditions though this drug is still illegal under the federal law.