Why the Utah Eagle Forum opposes the medical marijuana initiative

Inside Utah Politics

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – In November, Utah voters will decide the fate of medical marijuana in our state.

After a very contentious signature gathering and removal process, the initiative was given the green light. Now, the campaign is heating up as Election Day approaches.

President of The Utah Eagle Forum Gayle Ruzicka stops by Inside Utah Politics to discuss why they are asking people to vote no on the ballot initiative.

“It goes way too far. I believe that this is actually far more recreational than it is medical The initiative is 28 pages of long language along with code numbers and everybody should read this before they vote,” said Ruzicka. ” And yet we’re going to take 28 pages of legal language and reach out to the people and say just vote on soundbites and that shouldn’t happen.”

Ruzicka also says that there’s something in the initiative that many people are not aware of. 

“One of the things that’s in here on page 24 that people don’t know about is what’s called affirmative defense, and it means that if this is passed and once it’s certified there will be about 19 months until it goes into effect in July of 2020. During that time it’s an affirmative defense to say I believe that I would qualify for a medical marijuana card,” said Ruzicka. ‘Which means that anybody that wants to say that can use marijuana and they cannot be arrested or charged for using marijuana.”

Under the initiative, only certain medical conditions qualify for a card, but there is still concern that recreational users will be able to get around it. 

“If you look at that long list, chronic pain is on that list. In fact, in other states as high as 95 percent of the people who are using medical marijuana are doing it for chronic pain and it’s pretty hard to deny that,” Ruzicka said. 

Ruzicka also says that it’s going to really fall on doctors to monitor these cases.

“How do you diagnose chronic pain except by talking to the patient, and having the patient tell you their symptoms. And that’s what’s happened in other states and then they get their cards. The state is who issues the card, all the doctor does is just say it’s okay with me if you get a card,” said Ruzicka.

Ruzicka supports the concept of medical marijuana but says this initiative is not the answer.

“The answer is all of us working together to find the answer and to do it medically,” Ruzicka said. 

She also addresses the recent polls that show that Utahns favor medical marijuana.

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