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Utah's Gov. Candidate Pushes for MMJ after Wife's Bust

Oct 21, 2016 12:36PM ● By Randy Robinson

Gov. candidate Mike Weinholtz (from

On Oct. 18, Donna Weinholtz, the wife of Utah's gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz, pled guilty to possession of two pounds of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her plea bargain got her a year of probation and a $3,800 fine. 

During a press conference, Mike Weinholtz called again for the legalization of medical cannabis. He initially urged pot law reform back in April, when he accepted the Democratic nomination for a gubernatorial run. 

Donna claims she used marijuana to treat her debilitating spinal conditions and arthritis. Before cannabis, she relied on pharmaceuticals, yet still couldn't get out of bed. After cannabis, she says, she resumed a normal life of tending her tulips and riding bicycles with her son.

“I, like many Utahns, made a deliberate and conscious decision to use cannabis knowing full well that it is against the law,” she said, according to CBS News. “I have faith the law will change.”

Utah currently has an incredibly restrictive medical cannabis law on the books. Only non-psychoactive cannabis for seizure disorders is permitted. 

Just two days after the Weinholtz's press conference, Republican senator and E.R. physician Brian Shiozawa echoed the Weinholtz's sentiments to the Utah Legislature's Health and Services Committee. Shiozawa asked the state to open research on medical marijuana as a way of curbing Utah's opioid epidemic. 

"Our patients out there are desperate," said Shiozawa. "They're desperate for something to be done.…They're desperate to have alternatives to opioids in terms of pain relief." 

(An earlier version of this story said Weinholtz was governor. Gary Herbert is governor of Utah.)

National Geographic's "American Weed" - Pain Management