Utah governor moves to scrap state-run medical marijuana system

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling a special legislative session to scratch an unusual plan for a state-run medical cannabis dispensary system.

Instead, he wants to expand the number of private dispensaries from seven to as many as 12.

While the measure, if it passes, would open up additional business opportunities, its primary purpose is to alleviate concerns that public employees would run the risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.

Herbert, a Republican, said in a statement he wants to make sure the state’s MMJ program rolls out on time in March 2020 and added that removing the state-run piece also would make the program more efficient.

The special session will be Sept. 16.

The law had called for distributing MMJ products through seven private dispensaries and the rest through a state-run, “central fill pharmacy.”

Advocates have cheered the move away from a state-run entity, but some worry Utah will need more than 12 private dispensaries to meet demand.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily