Why did you decide to run for public office?
I'm running for office as a Democrat to promote representative legislation through multi-party participation, rather than instructed legislation from the current supermajority. I intend to apply evidence-based analysis to issues in education, health, and environment and economic development.
What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.?
I hold a Bachelor's degree in botany, a Master's degree in Agronomy, and an MBA. I spent most of my career in agricultural and human biotech firms before taking a position at Utah State University in 2008. I served on the Governor's Science Advisory Council, and I am currently the Trustee for the Utah Technology Council. I am also a member of the Cache County Chamber of Commerce.
What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse?
I worked for 13 years with biotech companies that were pursuing small molecule drug discovery for the treatment of a variety of diseases, so I am very familiar with drug regulation. However, my experience with drug policy and substance abuse is indirect.
Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?
I do support the creation of a medical cannabis program based on evidence that demonstrates the usefulness and safety of cannabinoid compounds in a variety of applications.
What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?
I do not have direct experience with overdose problems. I support the creation of treatment programs, training programs, counseling and decriminalization of cannabis. We clearly need alternatives to opioids to reduce the epidemic of addiction and overdose related to pain management.
Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.
Yes, I absolutely agree.
Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.
I have no direct experience with the harm reduction methodology, but the premise, as explained by the DPPU, seems much more sensible to me than continuing to pursue drug policies that are based strictly on punitive approaches.
What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.
In my view, cannabis should be regulated much like alcohol.
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?
Yes, I would be very open to sponsoring progressive and evidence-based drug legislation.
I'm committed to evidence-based solutions to complex problems, and will work with informed parties to craft legislation that will be in the best interests of the citizens of this state.