Lt. Governor asks again to dismiss a lawsuit trying to block medical marijuana from the ballot

Posted at 12:33 PM, Sep 18, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Governor Spencer Cox is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit trying to block Proposition 2 from going on the November ballot.

In a court filing obtained by FOX 13, the Utah Attorney General’s Office (which is acting as the Lt. Governor’s legal counsel) defended his authority to put the medical marijuana ballot initiative before voters in November.

“The challenged provisions of UMCA (Utah Medical Cannabis Act) are not patently unconstitutional and could become law if passed,” assistant Utah Attorney General Andrew Dymek wrote.

The Lt. Governor has faced several lawsuits now trying to keep Prop. 2 off the ballot. The most recent was filed by Walter Plumb III and his group “Truth About Prop. 2.” Plumb, a vocal opponent of the medical cannabis initiative, originally argued that faithful LDS Church members may find medical cannabis “repugnant.” He dropped that claim after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it did not oppose medical cannabis itself (when prescribed by a doctor and distributed through a pharmacy), but was going to actively oppose Prop. 2.

The Lt. Governor has repeatedly argued he has the legal authority to place the initiative before voters.

“Plaintiffs do not have a private right of action to challenge the Lt. Governor’s approval of the UMCA for signature gathering or his declaration that the UMCA initiative is sufficient to be submitted to Utah voters for approval or rejection,” Dymek wrote.

The case was originally filed in state court but has been moved over to federal court. The Utah Patients Coalition, which is sponsoring Prop. 2, has also joined the lawsuit to defend the initiative in going before voters in November.