Odds of a settlement ‘poor,’ so lawsuit over medical cannabis ballot initiative headed for trial

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-15 21:34:37-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The lawyers have no need for a mediator, nor do they need a judge to sit in a settlement conference.

“The potential for resolution before trial is poor,” said the court document obtained by FOX 13 on Saturday.

So the Epilepsy Association of Utah, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit will face off against the state of Utah at trial. A scheduling order submitted to a federal magistrate judge indicates the case will likely go to trial in late 2020 or early 2021.

TRUCE and EAU are suing the state over the bill passed by the Utah State Legislature that replaced voter-approved Proposition 2, the medical cannabis ballot initiative. They argue that what the legislature approved is not adequate for patients, nor is it what voters approved. In addition, the groups allege the state-run medical cannabis program being created makes government employees essentially a “drug dealer.”

The state argues the legislature has the power to modify ballot initiatives. The Utah Attorney General’s Office recently had the lawsuit moved from state to federal court over the legal questions surrounding Utah’s medical cannabis program, which is expected to launch in March 2020.

Recently, TRUCE and EAU’s lawsuit was amended to include a Bountiful couple as plaintiffs. Shalyce Kizerian has been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and argues that what Utah allows under its medical cannabis laws does not help her in her treatment. Her husband, Nate, also argued that it has become expensive as a caregiver to have to travel to Colorado to obtain what helps her.