Utah lawmakers have approved a bill to protect the rights of medical cannabis patients employed by government agencies. Under Bill SB46, state and local governments will be required to treat medical cannabis recommendations as prescriptions for other controlled substances.
the legislation Provides protection against discrimination in health care and public employment for medical cannabis patients. Republican Representative Joel Ferry, the bill’s lead sponsor in the House, said the law is designed to protect patients who legally use cannabis under the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which voters passed in 2018.
“What this law does is it provides some clarity on what the legislative purpose was… in recognizing medical cannabis as a legitimate use of cannabis for the treatment of certain diseases such as chronic pain,” He said The phrase, as quoted before Deseret News.
The legislation was approved by the Utah House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 68-4 after it passed by a margin of 26-1 in the Senate last month. The bill now heads to Republican Governor Spencer Cox for final approval.
The medical cannabis patient who is a firefighter has been stopped
Utah lawmakers drafted the legislation after an Ogden firefighter was suspended without pay in September last year for refusing to hand over his medical marijuana card. Firefighter, Levi Coleman, then sued the city and the fire department, arguing that the action violated the Medicinal Cannabis Act.
The legislation won nearly unanimous approval in both houses of the Utah legislature. Republican Representative Timothy Hawkes was one of the four who voted against the bill in the House of Representatives. Hawks said he feared the bill would give a “free out of jail pass” to people who use “street marijuana” recreationally.
Some lawmakers expressed reservations that the bill would allow public servants to work at high growth rates. The legislation has no effect on private sector employers.
But Ferry told colleagues in the House of Representatives on Wednesday that the legislation does not prevent public agencies from disciplining employees who are drunk or disabled on the job.
Republican Representative Norm Thurston agreed, saying, “We already have extensive provisions for … people whose ability to do their job is interfering with medical cannabis, that’s all in the law.” “All this is saying is that the simple extra act of looking for a card won’t get you fired from your job.”
Representative Keira Berkland, who is also a Republican, said she appreciates those concerned about public servants working under the influence of medical cannabis.
“But if we want to go through every controlled substance we have and talk about abuse, every profession, everybody can offend sometimes,” Birkeland said, adding, “I mean, I’ll be honest, sometimes I take two muscle relaxants when I’m supposed to only take one, right? like that? ”
“We don’t talk about it,” she added. “I think we need to allow people to work through this issue with their doctors and support them and provide education and training about how not to take drugs, rather than just saying, ‘You might abuse this and so we won’t let you have this drug and they have this profession.’”
Other lawmakers noted that the bill was in violation of federal law, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. But Republican Representative Ken Ivory said the bill relates to states’ rights under the US Constitution and that Utah protects the interests of its citizens despite the federal government’s position.
“The founders and founders looked to states to look at politics, to look at the things that mattered to their people,” Ivory said.
“States are separate and independent sovereign states, and sometimes they need to act that way,” Ivory added, citing US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.