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Utah-funded marijuana study results may be delayed past Election Day

(Photo: Andrew Selsky, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — A state-funded marijuana study may be delayed by snags in the federal approval process, and the results might not be available until after Utahns hit the polls in November.

The USTAR research organization created by the state has $500,000 to conduct the study, but can’t seem to get past federal obstacles. The organization was hoping to have results of the study available for Utahns prior to voting in the November election on the controversial medical marijuana ballot initiative.

Frustrated researchers tell the Deseret News the challenges of running studies on a Schedule 1 drug are substantial. USTAR has already revised its expected study completion estimate a number of times before.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has also criticized federal requirements on researchers hoping to study marijuana, calling them “regulatory acrobatics.”

Once USTAR gets the green light, they plan to hit the ground running. One researcher says the findings of the study will be of strong interest to Utahns, even if the study isn’t finished before Election Day.