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Utah senate advances bill legalizing medical marijuana

[JURIST] The Utah Senate [official website] on Monday voted to advance Senate Bill 73 [materials], which would legalize the use of medical marijuana in various forms such as vapor or edible form. The bill allows [AP report] for dispensaries to operate legally as long as they abide by statutory guidelines concerning licenses, inventory, inventory control, health requirements and general operating requirements. The bill further provides for fines for violations of the bill. Two weeks ago, the Mormon church cautioned against the bill [press release], stating that while they were aware some could "benefit from the medical use of compounds found in marijuana" they felt that Senate Bill 89 [materials] was more equipped to deal with the issue of medical marijuana's legalization and asked for more research to be done on the matter. However, in a statement released Monday, they seemed to soften their stance. If given final Senate approval, the bill will go before the House of Representatives.

In recent years there has been a movement to decriminalize marijuana both domestically and abroad, which has resulted in at least 20 US states allowing various forms of medical marijuana and four states decriminalizing [CNN report] marijuana altogether. In December Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree fully legalizing medical marijuana [JURIST report] in the country. Santos said the new regulations, which make it legal to grow, process, import and export marijuana for medical and scientific use, would put Colombia "at the forefront in the fight against disease." Last November New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills [JURIST report] in order to expedite the distribution of medical marijuana to citizens with critical health conditions. Earlier that month New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that would allow for the administering of edible medical marijuana to sick and disabled children on school grounds without triggering the arrests of parents or educators. Also in November the Mexico Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] ruled that four members of the nonprofit Sociedad Mexicana de Autoconsumo Responsable y Tolerante would be allowed to grow and smoke marijuana. In June of last year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a law restricting the use of medical marijuana was unconstitutional [JURIST report].

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