Evan Vickers, Utah Legislature, 10:30am January 31, 2016 – www.thespectrum.com
In this year’s legislative session, one of the more controversial topics to be discussed is whether or not the state should allow any kind of cannabis products to be available for medical use.
The discussion was started last year by Sen. Mark Madsen (R-District 13) with SB 259, which proposed allowing whole plant and edible marijuana to be sold to patients after receiving a recommendation from a doctor for certain qualifying illnesses including chronic pain. In the Senate, there are two votes taken by the whole body, one vote on the second reading calendar and another vote for final passage on third reading calendar. SB 259 passed 16-13 on the second reading calendar, then failed 14-15 on the third reading calendar. This bill will be heard again this session as SB 73.
I believe there are two extreme positions in the policy discussion. On one hand, you have the position of doing nothing as is our current policy. The other extreme position is to do a Colorado/California type bill. There is also a middle ground, which is SB 89, a bill I am sponsoring along with Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem). This bill would allow 5-10,000 patients to have access to CBD (cannabidiol, which is the non-hallucinogenic, more medicinal substance in the marijuana plant). This would be done under a very controlled medical environment where physicians work with patients and collect research data during the treatment process. The CBD would only be dispensed in medicinal dosage forms, i.e. capsule, tablet, concentrated liquid, trans-dermal or sub-lingual.
SB 73 is more permissive and similar to laws in California and Colorado. It would allow more than 100,000 patients to have access to the whole marijuana plant, including THC, which is the hallucinogenic portion of the plant. Patients would work with a physician. The marijuana would be dispensed as an edible, i.e. brownie or gummy bear, concentrated oil or the marijuana leafs.
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