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Utah Republicans Reject Medical Marijuana Resolution

Julia Ritchey, KUER
State delegates debate a resolution to support medical marijuana. The resolution failed with more than 990 votes against the measure.

Utah GOP state delegates overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to support medical marijuana in their party platform over the weekend.

Paul Clayton, president of the Utah Medical Association, was one of those opposed to the resolution. He said cannabis has not yet been approved by the FDA as medicine.

“There’s a system in place to bring medicines to the public that are safe, effective; we know the dose, we know the contra-indications," he said. "Cannabis is not there yet.”

But Dale Bennion, a delegate from Weber County, said patients suffering from chronic pain and disease deserve access to all medical treatments.

“Marijuana is a lesser evil compared to opiates," he said. "People aren’t dying of marijuana. It’s a lesser evil compared to alcohol."

The resolution failed with 70 percent of delegates voting against and just 30 percent in support. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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