Cannabis bills both flawed, say advocates

KAYSVILLE—Two proposed bills for the upcoming legislative session would dramatically expand Utah’s medical cannabis program, but advocates say that both bills will leave out some of the very patients they’re trying to help. 

One bill, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, would allow for cannabidoil (CBD) to be formed into pills, while a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, would allow for a variety of chemicals found in cannabis to be used for treatment.Representatives from the non-profit group Drug Policy Project of Utah say that while Madsen’s bill would allow more patients to receive the benefits of cannabis, both bills feature a conditions list that leave out Utahns suffering from  more rare ailments. That lack, they argue, could cause difficulties later. 

“We want to make sure there’s a tightly regulated system that’s safe, and isn’t legalization light,” said Turner Bitton, president of the DPP’s board of directors, at a presentation in Kaysville last week. “If this is not done right, it will hurt the patients.” 

Currently, Utah only allows patients with severe epilepsy who meet certain conditions to use cannabidoil, and the rest of the more than 400 chemicals found in the marijuana plant are considered illegal. Though Daw’s bill would expand the pool of people who could use cannabid oil, advocates say that many medical marijuana patients need THC to treat symptoms such as nausea. 

“Patients often need a high dose of CBD and a low dose of THC to make the medication work for them,” said Bountiful resident Kathleen Dennis, a member of the Drug Policy Project who has osteoarthritis. “We think whole plant access is important because we want everyone to be able to figure out the chemical that works for them.” 

The FDA approved Marinol, a man-made form of cannabis containing THC, in 1985 to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients. It is currently in use today. Madsen’s bill would approve the prescribed use of THC, among other chemicals approved by the patient’s doctor, and would require that all plants be fully regulated and quality controlled from the time they were a seed. As of last November, Daw’s bill didn’t specify that. 

“We want people to be able to trust what they’re using,” said Dennis. 

 

Read the full article: The Davis Clipper - Cannabis bills both flawed say advocates