Utah is ready
Several public polls commissioned earlier this year all found that over 2/3 of Utahns support legalizing medical cannabis. Majorities of every significant group—Utah Republicans, Mormons, and senior citizens—all favor this policy.
Why? Because we all know somebody who has suffered the debilitating effects of cancer treatment, or the uncontrollable seizures from epilepsy, or the unresponsive treatments to chronic, severe pain. We sympathize with them, and wonder why the law prohibits them from accessing a clearly beneficial treatment option: cannabis.
More tragically, an average of 21 Utahns die every month from overdosing on prescription drugs—toxic opiates that lead people down a spiral of addiction and self-destruction. States that have legalized medical cannabis have reduced their overdose rate by 25%. In other words, seven or eight lives can be saved every month in Utah by passing this legislation—to say nothing of the tens of thousands of others who would benefit.
It's time to change the law
Senate Bill 259 failed in the Senate by a single vote—but the bill will be back, and it will be even better. Libertas Institute is helping to conduct research and improve the policy for the next legislative session. If the bill passes, tens of thousands of Utahns will, with the recommendation of their doctor, be able to access this beneficial pain relief or treatment option to improve their quality of life—and in some cases, even save their life. Utah's system will be tightly regulated with strict oversight, security, and regulatory compliance.
We have outlined an ambitious plan leading up to next January in an effort to educate the public, address lawmakers' concerns, and increase support for the bill. This campaign comes at a cost—$135,000, to be exact. This will fund an informational website, billboards, radio advertisements, research and lobbying, travel, public events, and other needs we've identified in order to ensure that in 2016, the Utah legislature sides with the public and legalizes this product.
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