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Regulating a hypothetical marijuana industry in Utah

A marijuana grow operation. (Seth Perlman, AP File Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — The debate over a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Utah has raised a number of other questions, including how the potential industry would be regulated and who would be allowed to grow and sell weed.

Who gets to grow marijuana?

According to the Deseret News, there has been a serious discussion among Proposition 2 supporters and lawmakers about a passage in the ballot initiative that would allow someone living 100 miles away from a dispensary to grow their own marijuana. Those users would have to have a medical card and would be limited to growing no more than six plants. They would also have to have the plants away from public view, but also not inside a home or too close to places like schools, parks and libraries.

Who makes the rules?

Officials from the Department of Agriculture say they would oversee who would be allowed to grow the plants. However, Deputy Commissioner Scott Ericson says his department is not looking at how to handle Proposition 2 just yet.

“We are not slowing down in what we’ve been mandated by the legislature to do because of the initiative,” Ericson says. “If the initiative comes, there are another set of rules that we may have to write.”

Ericson says they’re still trying to finalize the rules about growing industrial hemp and two other recently passed bills about medical marijuana, including letting people who are terminally ill have it, the so-called “right-to-try” legislation.

“We are currently working on those rules. We hope to have the first portion of those rules available for public comment at the first of November,” Ericson says.

What are the restrictions?

Proposition 2 would also require any grower to have a tracking system to control all the inventory, along with a video security system that can store videos for 45 days. The Department of Health would also have to have access to the grower’s inventory.

There are other restrictions within the initiative over the type of marijuana that would be allowed. For example, smoking a traditional joint would be considered prohibited, and use of cannabis in public view would also be banned except in case of “medical emergency,” though the initiative does not define those terms.

More: 13 things voters should know about Utah’s medical marijuana initiative (Deseret News)