Utah Lieutenant Governor asks federal court to throw out challenge to medical marijuana initiative, Utah politico asks federal court to throw out challenge to medical cannabis initiative

A high-ranking Utah official is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to keep a medical marijuana initiative off the November ballot, saying the legal challenge lacks merit and standing.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in central Utah, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox argued that:

  • He fully complied with Utah’s election rules for determining the initiative had sufficient signatures to be placed on the ballot.
  • The plaintiff – the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Utah, doing business as Drug Safe Utah – lacks standing because it hasn’t been “injured by the mere presence of the initiative on the ballot.”
  • Drug Safe Utah isn’t the first to argue that MMJ initiatives are pre-empted by federal law; yet a “significant” number of courts have concluded otherwise.


If approved by voters, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act  would open up the conservative state to a legal MMJ market with licensed dispensaries, cultivators, processors and independent testers.

Drug Safe Utah, which includes the Utah Medical Association, law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations, claims medical marijuana would do little to help patients and would harm others, especially children.

The group earlier failed in its well-funded effort to persuade enough people to withdraw their signatures from the ballot initiative.

The Utah Patients Coalition, which led the ballot initiative, also has called on the court to dismiss the lawsuit by Drug Safe Utah.