Medical marijuana is coming to the Mormon state, just not in the form of Proposition 2—even though the cannabis ballot initiative did pass last night.
Utah voters voiced their support for medical marijuana yesterday by passing Proposition 2 by a margin of more than 50,000 votes. But, despite Prop 2's passing, it will not become law in Utah.
Last week, Utah's governor Gary Herbert (R) announced that his administration would be introducing their own bill to legalize medical marijuana regardless of whether or not Prop 2 passed. Herbert says he will be calling a special government session to introduce the bill, which seeks to address some of the issues raised the state's biggest marijuana opponents—chief of which is the LDS Church—had with Prop 2.
However, the passing of Proposition 2 does signal a shift in this historically conservative state. Despite the vast influence of the Mormon church, Utahns still chose to side with patients on the cannabis issue. If nothing else, the passing of Prop 2 gives lawmakers a clear indication that this is what the people want.
The final details of Herbert's new compromise bill are not available yet, and it is not clear when exactly people in Utah can expect to be able to access safe and legal medical marijuana in their state. But the wheels are definitely in motion, and the passing of Prop 2 should give the legalization movement a bit more momentum in the home state of the Mormon faith.