Utah moves lawsuit over medical cannabis replacement bill to federal court

Posted at 9:12 AM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 11:12:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office has moved a lawsuit filed over the Proposition 2 replacement bill to federal court.

In a series of filings, the state successfully moved the litigation from state court to federal court. The state said that because the lawsuit’s latest complaint raises federal issues, it should be heard by the federal courts.

The Epilepsy Association of Utah and Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) sued the state after the legislature replaced voter-approved Prop. 2 with its own bill creating a state-run medical cannabis program. EAU and TRUCE’s initial lawsuit accused the state of overriding the will of voters and acting under the direction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a primary opponent of Prop. 2.

The lawsuit was later amended to drop the claims of LDS collusion, but argued that the state-run system runs afoul of federal law by essentially making the state (and state employees) drug dealers.

Utah is unique in creating its own system for distributing medical cannabis. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will oversee cannabis grows and the Utah Department of Health intends to distribute the product through county health departments and a handful of privately licensed dispensaries.

The program is expected to be up and running by March 2020.