Andrew Apsley, Utah State Senate District 7


Why did you decide to run for public office?

I decided to run because my current state senator was not listening to her constituents on the issues that seem to matter most.

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.?

I have 10 years of experience in corporate finance. I have also worked in the real estate, residential mortgage, and higher education industries.  

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse?

I have worked with a local non-profit that focuses on raising awareness of mental illness and offers free education to the public. Many of the issues we discussed had to do with substance abuse and the difficulties of navigating the legal system for people with mental illnesses and/or drug addictions.

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

I support a medical cannabis program for the treatment of medical issues. I want the stigma to be removed from the plant, so that the medical professions can use the product to the fullest extent and explore safe and effective treatments using cannabis.

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

Expanding access to medical cannabis will equip doctors with other methods of pain management, rather than prescription opioids. Expanding electronic medical records that are accessible across practices will allow doctors to understand their patients' previous treatments more effectively. Equipping first responders with opioid antagonists that will treat the symptoms, but we really need to stop prescribing opioids as much as we do, especially when there are safer alternatives available for many of the conditions.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

I agree 100%. 

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

I am less familiar with the term "harm reduction policy," but it reflects my overall view of how to effectively tackle drug issues. 

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

I generally agree with decriminalizing the possession of cannabis at a state level, but it remains a federal offense. I would favor decriminalization at the state and federal level with civil penalties for possession. Criminal punishments can still be an option for growing, selling, or distributing cannabis products, but even those practices should be legalized and regulated in order to bring the whole industry into the light.

Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?

I would be very interested in sponsoring medical cannabis legislation in the short-term while the iron is hot. Progressing beyond that point would likely take time in this state in order to shift public opinion.

Anything else?

Not at this time.

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