The cannabis plant is made up of compounds called cannabinoids. The plant’s two most prominent, and most widely discussed, cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Each compound has differing effects on the human body. THC is the primary chemical that produces the psychoactive effect, or the ‘high’, that is associated with cannabis use. THC also has a multitude of therapeutic benefits including the ability to increase one’s appetite (helpful in patients with reduced appetite due to chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS treatment), reduce nausea and vomiting, and it has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, CBD has no psychoactive effect, and has, in fact, been shown to mitigate the impact of THC. It has been sought after for its ability to prevent convulsions, making it effective for treating many different seizure disorders. Studies have also shown that CBD may help a variety of conditions including epilepsy, PTSD and pain management, to name a few. Currently, Utah allows CBD use for children with intractable epilepsy through the Hemp Registry created by House Bill 105 in 2014.
Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule I narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning the federal government believes it to be a dangerous drug with no recognized medical benefit. Consequently, any CBD derived from the cannabis plant violates the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has already stated that it believes CBD to be a cannabis derivative and, therefore, a Schedule 1 drug. However, the federal Controlled Substances Act doesn’t include “mature stalks” in its definition of “marijuana.” The stalks of the cannabis plant are used to create hemp (which contains little to no THC and does not have the psychoactive effect). Hemp is not scheduled under the federal Controlled Substances Act and, therefore, is also not under the authority of the DEA.
This complex and confusing regulatory reality of CBD products creates a legal landscape where some CBD products are legal and some are not. CBD products derived directly from the cannabis plant remain illegal under federal law and cannot be transported or mailed across the country. These products are only allowed to be sold and distributed in states with medical cannabis programs.
Representative Jason Chaffetz has proposed House Resolution 4779 which aims to protect people who travel to states with medical cannabis laws to purchase cannabis-derived CBD oil from being charged with a federal crime when they return home. It is important to remember that although those who are currently registered and participating in the Hemp Registry program have been given a legal waiver to possess CBD products in Utah, crossing state lines to obtain it remains illegal and thus these individuals are vulnerable to prosecution. HR4779 would resolve many of these issues related to CBD products.
This petition urges members of Utah's Congressional delegation to support HR4779 and provide legal protections to Utah's CBD program participants. The participating families are merely attempting to relieve the suffering of their children with intractable epilepsy.
Please support our efforts by signing the following petition and when the time is right, we'll hand-deliver your signature, along with any comments, to the appropriate legislators.
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