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Utah GOP to vote on leader, weighs support for medical pot

About 4,000 Republicans who make up the core of Utah’s GOP will pick new a leader at the party’s annual convention Saturday and decide whether to endorse the use of medical marijuana, a cause the party’s libertarian wing has embraced but conservative leaders have rejected.

The daylong convention at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy also 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.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz is making his final appearance at the convention as a congressman, having announced Thursday that he’ll resign on June 30, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

Republicans jockeying to replace him will be campaigning hard, hoping to stand out from the crowd of at least half a dozen potential GOP candidates in a special election later this year.

Utah GOP chairman James Evans on Saturday faces his own election, as he seeks a third term as his party’s leader.

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