Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
FILE - Gov. Gary R. Herbert speaks at a press conference launching construction of the Utah Department of Transportation’s I-15 tech corridor project at the Rain office in Lehi on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert continued his opposition to a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, stressing Thursday it is fraught with too many loopholes.

"I support the medical use of marijuana based on science," Herbert said during his monthly KUED press conference with reporters. "It is troublesome to me that we ignore a federal law that says it is illegal."

The Utah Patients Coalition led the effort to put the issue to voters in the November general election.

It allows qualified patients to obtain a recommendation from their doctor for the medical use of marijuana, provides for licensed dispensaries and also allows people to grow their own plants if they live too far from a dispensary.

Herbert said initiative, if passed, opens the door to more recreational use of marijuana in the state.

"It ought to be treated like a medicine, like a controlled substance," he said. "You can't just sprinkle a little seed into your muffins or brownies ... and say it's good there."

Herbert also came out against the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative, which increases the sales tax from 4.7 percent to 4.85 percent to cover the state's share of the costs.

Utah is waiting on a waiver from the federal government to extend more coverage to certain low-income residents, something Herbert said would be the more appropriate way to provide insurance for that population.

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Herbert said he is in favor of the Count My Vote ballot initiative, which would solidify a dual path for a candidate to get on the ballot either through signature gathering or through the caucus-convention system, and he is not opposed to the Better Boundaries initiative also on November's ballot.

Also Thursday, Herbert said he's made it no secret that he encouraged Mitt Romney to run for the seat held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. He's supporting Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, in his 3rd Congressional District race.