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Medical Marijuana Passes Utah Senate, Goes to House

Andrea Smardon
Medical marijuana advocates Enedina Stanger and Christine Stenquist take a moment to celebrate after the Senate vote at the Utah Capitol. (Feb. 25, 2016)

The Utah House of Representatives will get a chance to debate medical marijuana. The Senate voted 17 to 12 to pass a broad measure that would allow Utah patients to use cannabis extracts when recommended by a doctor.

There were tears and hugs in the halls of the Capitol after the Senate made its final vote.

“We did it, we did it,” two women cried as they hugged, “Oh my God!”

Senators did not spend a lot of time debating the measure. Democrat Karen Mayne said Senators had already spent hours on the issue.

“We spoke about it, we debated, but I think we need to give it to the House,” Mayne said.

Medical marijuana advocate Christine Stenquist says she was discouraged last week, but now she has hope. She says revisions made by Republican Senator Mark Madsen might just give it a chance in the House.

“We’re just thrilled that it’s actually able to get to the House. I’m hopeful that the House will listen and look at the revisions, and see that there is real progress, that we’re trying to get medication into the sickest of sick people’s hands,” she says.

Stenquist is leading the charge for a ballot initiative on medical marijuana, but she says she would much rather it get done in the legislature. Even amidst the celebrating, Stenquist whispered to allies, ‘it’s not over yet.’

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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