Medical marijuana bill faces a rough road in the Utah House

Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 23:23:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A House committee will hear debate next week on a pair of medical marijuana bills, but one faces a tough battle.

Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, told FOX 13 that he has been meeting with members of the House Health & Human Services Committee to persuade them to vote for his bill, SB73. It would allow for cannabis oils, edibles and extracts to be used to treat a long list of conditions, from chronic pain and cancer to AIDS and epilepsy.

The committee will hear SB73 and a competing bill, SB89 (which allows for an extract to be used).

"If we can get it to the floor, I'm very optimistic. Right now, I'm mostly concerned about the committee," Madsen said Thursday. "That committee is daunting and we have our work cut out for us."

Madsen said some House members have said they aren't bothering to read his bill, declaring they will vote against it anyway. He and medical marijuana backers have been meeting with them to persuade them to vote for it.

House Health & Human Services Committee Chairman Kay McIff, R-Richfield, insisted the bill would get a fair hearing.

"It's not sent to my committee to die," he said.

Even if the bill were to die in committee, supporters said they would push lawmakers on the House floor to lift the bill for a full debate. There also remains the threat of a ballot initiative.