This past year, Utah took a shot at legalizing medical marijuana for multiple conditions – unfortunately the proposed bill died at the end of this year’s legislative session. But that doesn’t mean that lawmakers are giving up just yet. At a recent legislative hearing there were two different proposals introduced that will be looked at during the early part of the 2017 session – one which would expand research to allow human based trials in the state and one which would again attempt to legalize the use of medical marijuana for specific conditions.
The Utah Medical Association supports research of the drug in Utah, said McOmber, the group’s CEO, but it doesn’t “want to skirt the process — as this is a public safety process — on how to use the medicine in as safe a manner as possible.”
While the Utah Medical Association is willing to give their support to the proposal which would expand research, they are currently opposed to legalization without further research. This is, of course, a very conservative approach – however if they were to allow clinical trials with human subjects then there would at least be a small number of people who would be able to benefit from medical cannabis during this period. In addition, they would be providing the data that so many who are on-the-fence want to see prior to agreeing to support legalization.
However, Senator Brian Shiozawa, who is also a doctor, wants to see a full legalization plan implemented – while reminding everyone that there are veterans suffering with PTSD and cancer patients who would greatly benefit from this opportunity. With current laws – and if the research proposal were passed – cannabis can only be imported from states where medical marijuana is legal. If Utah was to implement its own program, it could be available in the entire state for those who really need it.
On top of all this, a candidate with the potential to become Utah’s next Governor has called for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state after his wife plead guilty to a misdemeanor of possession of two pounds of cannabis, which she presumably used for medicinal purposes. She, like so many others, has had to face insane fines (in her case, $3,800) or potential jail time, all because they chose to medicate with a plant, rather than pharmaceutical drugs – and Utah is still behind in their laws governing medical marijuana.
Currently patients with seizure conditions, such as severe epilepsy, are able to use cannabidiol extract – which they must obtain from states with legal medical marijuana. We’ve already talked before about how CBD-based laws – especially those that do not allow in-state access – don’t do much for medical marijuana patients, aside from simply protecting them from possession charges. With half of the states now sporting some sort of medical marijuana laws, it’s time for states like Utah who are still behind the times to catch up – otherwise they will continue to lose residents to states where their medicine is legal – while continuing to lock up those who cannot afford to move for treatment.