(Denver Post file photo)

Utah Republican convention refuses to endorse medical marijuana

SANDY, Utah — The Utah Republican Party will not endorse the use of medical marijuana following a lopsided convention vote.

GOP delegates rejected the proposal with a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent after a spirited debate Saturday.

Supporters argued the drug can have life-changing effects for patients. Opponents said it hasn’t been fully vetted and expressed concern that allowing medical use could lead to full legalization.

The cause has been embraced by the party’s liberal wing, but conservative leaders have balked. Utah’s Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature have rejected plans to pass a medical marijuana law for three years in a row.

The party’s annual convention gives Utah’s governor, congressional delegation and other top officials a chance to speak to party activists and longtime loyalists in speeches in front of a packed exhibition hall and in more intimate encounters as Republicans mingle with elected officials at their official campaign booths.