UT MMJ Initiative Has DA’s Support; OR Counts its Receipts; Legalization Favored in Middle America

The district attorney in Utah’s most populous county supports medicinal cannabis, the Oregon Department of Revenue collects $7.8 million in taxes, and state-level marijuana initiatives cultivate strong support as we head toward the 2018 midterm elections.

As the head of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) asserted that cannabis kills, a new study reports lower levels of anxiety and depression among consumers. Good, bad, or ugly, here are some of the intriguing headlines for the week of May 11, 2018.

Salt Lake County DA Supports Medical Marijuana

While Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Medical Association, and the Mormon church have spoken out in opposition to the state’s medical cannabis ballot initiative, the Salt Lake County district attorney continues to support the ballot initiative. On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, District Attorney  Sim Gill told reporters the use of medical marijuana should be “a private decision.” And one that should be made “without the threat of prosecution.”

“I will be voting in favor of this initiative in November,” Gill said during a press conference at the State Capitol.

Cannabis legalization is a popular topic among residents of the Beehive State. A UtahPolicy.com poll conducted in March 2018 found 77 percent of surveyed adults support legalizing the medicinal herb.

Oregon Harvests Marijuana Tax Revenue

For March 2018, the Oregon Department of Revenue has reported the state collected $6,768,304 from cannabis taxes, while cities and counties collected an additional $1,071,102. Per the revenue department’s newest marijuana tax receipt data, in the first three months of 2018, Oregon has collected roughly $21.4 million in marijuana tax receipts, with the state collecting $8 million in January, and $6.7 million in February.

Oregon cannabis tax revenues, minus administrative costs, are distributed quarterly. While 20 percent of the state’s marijuana tax revenue is earmarked to help finance mental health and drug abuse programs, another 40 percent is specifically allocated to benefit the state’s educational programs.

With High Support, Marijuana Makes the Ballot

Utah won’t be the only state where voters are excited to determine their cannabis policy come November. According to the most recent polls, 61 percent of Michigan’s voters support their ballot initiative to legalize recreational adult-use marijuana, while 61.8 percent of Oklahoma’s voters support medical marijuana.

And in the Show Me State, 62 percent of Missouri residents  are anticipated to cast their collective ballots for one of three competing medical marijuana initiatives attempting to qualify for the 2018 ballot.

Conducted in 2016, the Public Policy Polling survey in Missouri found that 74 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Independents, and 44 percent of Republicans support some form of medical marijuana.

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