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News Brief: Pot Shops, Homeless Deaths And Church Split

Photo of marijuana poured out on top of a medical prescription.
Eight pharmacies in Utah could start serving medical cannabis as early as March, after the state Department of Health on Friday announced the companies that will receive the 14 licenses to serve it.

Friday afternoon, January 3, 2020


Local Leaders Call For Homeless Shelter Improvements

Salt Lake City leaders have called for immediate pedestrian safety improvements after three men were killed trying to cross the street near a new homeless resource center. Police say four crashes — including three deaths — have occurred in the area since November, when a 300-bed men's resource center opened in South Salt Lake. Authorities believe all three men were homeless and seeking shelter at the center. City officials say they are working with the state Department of Transportation to reduce speed limits in areas near the shelter and install a crosswalk. A timeline for any improvements is unclear. — Caroline Ballard


Utah Cannabis Pharmacies Announced

The Utah Department of Health on Friday announced the companies that will receive 14 medical cannabis pharmacy licenses. Eight of those pharmacies could start serving patients as early as March — the remaining six could open in July, according to the department. The pharmacies are spread throughout 10 of Utah’s 29 counties. The department evaluated license applications based on experience in the industry, investigations in other jurisdictions and their ability to lower the cost of medical cannabis, among other criteria. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Fertility Rate Dip Linked To Rising Costs, Childcare

For the first time in Utah’s recorded history, the average number of children born to each woman during her reproductive years has dipped below 2.1, the threshold needed for maintaining a population. The change is consistent with a prolonged national decrease in fertility rates, which demographers say is connected to the rising cost of housing and childcare and the legacy of the Great Recession. But the state’s population is not shrinking. Between new births and people moving in, Utah has been the fastest-growing state in the country over the past decade. Read the full story. — David Fuchs


No New Measles Cases Found Since Denver Exposure

No new measles cases have been found three weeks after a possible exposure at a Colorado airport and hospital, health officials say. The concern was that three children infected with measles may have infected others as they passed through the Denver airport and then the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado.  — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau


Utah Congressional Delegates Applaud U.S. Air Strike

Utah’s congressional delegates are applauding the targeted killing of a top Iranian General, but are pressing for more information about the attack that was carried out without lawmakers’ approval. Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. air strike on the Baghdad Airport early Friday local time. Iran warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the United States. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

United Methodist Church Looks To Split

The United Methodist Church will likely split into separate denominations for the first time this year. The schism centers around a long-standing dispute within the church of whether to permit same-sex marriages and ordain LGBTQ people as clergy. In Utah, many Methodist churches hold a more liberal view on LGBTQ inclusivity, while a smaller number have more conservative views. Those in favor of opening the clergy and marriages to LGBTQ people will remain as United Methodists, and those opposed are expected to break off and form a new denomination — Traditionalist Methodist. Leaders of the United Methodist Church will hold a vote on the separation in May during its worldwide conference. — Caroline Ballard

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