It is amazing to see just how far medical cannabis has come in Utah since the passage of Proposition 2. Just five years ago, no one would have suspected that state lawmakers would ever put a medical cannabis law on the books. But here we are. Medical cannabis is now so widely accepted in the state that even the recent Utah Cann conference acknowledged patients by providing a respite tent.
Utah Cann is a medical cannabis conference held annually at the Utah State Fairgrounds. It is an event designed to bring patients, medical professionals, and industry representatives together to learn about the current state of medical cannabis. It is understood that valid cannabis card holders attend the conference.
That being the case, conference organizers decided to erect a respite tent this year. The respite tent was a place where medical cannabis users could privately consume their medication out of public view.
Legal for Emergencies
Using medical cannabis in public view is normally illegal. But language in both Proposition 2 and the legislation that followed it includes an exception for emergencies. In an emergency situation, a patient can consume medical cannabis even in public view. Interestingly, the law leaves determining what constitutes an emergency to the patient.
Government officials do not get to define an emergency. Neither does law enforcement, the medical community, or anyone other than patients. The result of this is that patients have significant latitude to determine when and where to consume cannabis.
Conference organizers acknowledged the reality of the emergency provision. Likewise, they acknowledged the likelihood that there would be medical cannabis users in attendance. They decided to erect the respite tent as a means of giving patients a bit of privacy should they need it. Doing so was as much a symbolic gesture as a practical one.
A respite tent tells medical cannabis patients they are not taken for granted. It tells them that others recognize the legitimacy of their medical conditions and the need to treat those conditions with medical cannabis. An added bonus was that of reducing the likelihood of a legal controversy in the event someone began using cannabis in plain view.
Familiarize Yourself with the Law
Prior to reading this post, did you know that using medical cannabis in public view is normally illegal? Did you know that the law makes an exception for emergencies? These are things every medical cannabis user should know. There are undoubtedly others. That’s why it’s so important for all of us in the medical cannabis community to familiarize ourselves with the law.
As a patient, it is truly in your best interests to know exactly what the law says. It also behooves you to obey the law in every respect. State lawmakers have come a long way in turning Proposition 2 into a workable program. They continue to work on making it better. The cannabis community only risks harming future progress by not obeying the law as it currently stands
As you ponder that, you at least now know that you can use your medicine in public should an emergency arise. You get to decide what qualifies as an emergency. If you believe you cannot get out of public view quickly enough to take your medicine, feel free to do so where you are.
Our hats are off to the Utah Cann conference organizers for their willingness to provide a respite tent for medical cannabis users. Well done. Your decision to do so further legitimizes medical cannabis as a viable treatment for certain qualifying conditions. You are helping make medical cannabis mainstream in Utah.