The Latest: Lawmakers approve changes to medical pot law

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on action on changes to Utah's medical marijuana law (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Lawmakers have approved changes to Utah's medical marijuana law following a fierce debate from people on both sides of the issues.

The Utah Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday evening to send the proposal to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert's desk.

The measure would scrap plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system in favor of 14 privately-run pharmacies and adopt protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes, among other changes.

Some lawmakers applauded the proposal as increasing patient access to medical marijuana and making grow facilities and home delivery of the product more secure.

Opponents said the measure could set a dangerous precedent by dictating the number of dispensaries in the state and suggested seeking a federal waiver for Utah's program as marijuana is still banned at the federal level.

Utah's medical marijuana program is set to launch next year.

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7:45 p.m.

A bid to change Utah's medical marijuana law has passed its first vote following a fierce debate from people on both sides of the issue.

The Utah Senate has voted unanimously Monday evening to send the proposal to the state's House of Representatives. Two senators were absent.

The measure would scrap plans for an unusual state-run dispensary system in favor of 14 privately-run pharmacies and adopt protections for patients who are concerned they could be prosecuted for drug crimes, among other changes.

Some lawmakers applauded the proposal as increasing patient access to medical marijuana and making grow facilities and home delivery of the product more secure.

Opponents say the measure doesn't address impaired driving for medical marijuana users. Democratic Sen. Derek Kitchen shared concern that patients in rural areas may be forced to pay more for marijuana.

Utah's medical marijuana program is set to launch next year.