Utah lawmakers debate merits of marijuana extract that helps kids with seizures

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Several Utah parents say a marijuana extract is dramatically reducing seizures for kids with rare forms of epilepsy, and they want access to the extract in Utah.

They, along with Representative Gage Froerer, who is sponsoring a cannabis bill, took their cause to Utah lawmakers for the first time as supporters pleaded their case before health and law enforcement interim committees.

When conservative Senator Allen Christiansen heard there was a push to bring a marijuana extract to Utah, he said, “Representative, I was all geared up to start fighting you on this medical marijuana thing like crazy.”

Then, Christiansen did a 180 in front of the Health and Human Services interim committee.

"I'm looking it up last night, and this is the end all cure-all of everything…  If you can get past these hurdles and get it through the House, I will be happy to carry it in the Senate,” he said.

"It's progress, we're educating our lawmakers," said mother April Sintz.

The Epilepsy Association of Utah said the elixir could help about 10,000 children suffering in Utah.

April Sintz believes the cannabidiol oil known as “Charlotte's Web” can not only end her son's violent seizures, but free him from legal, ever-changing prescriptions that have terrible side effects.

"I absolutely think it's a lifesaver, but I think it's also a chance to change the quality of life that our children are living right now," Sintz said.

A number of doctors said the extract has very low THC levels.

"There's absolutely no potential for abuse, nor does there seem to be any potential for any kind of side effects," said Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, CEO of ISA Scientific in Draper.

Representative Froerer wants to import the extract from Colorado and have the Utah Health Department administer it as an herbal supplement, not a pharmaceutical drug.

But the legislative's legal counsel said under federal law, marijuana is illegal.

"I don't think we could ask a state department to do something with an illegal substance like that," said Representative Paul Ray from Clearfield. "I think when you look on the legal side, you'll probably get some more questions this afternoon from law enforcement. How do you manage a program being that it's still illegal on the federal side?”

Froerer plans on drafting a bill by December.


  • Jennifer Snow

    Hemp is from heaven, God’s creation, a natural medicine and oil tree that has benefited mankind for centuries, being the most omega rich seed given to man – Tricky dickies, and braindead followers just don’t get it, so they turn it into toxic prisonland usa, making a mockery of human rights, and freedom!!! RIP matthew stewart – a sad example of how willing they are to terrorize harmless citizens, over a nontoxic, safe and superior HERB!

    • Eric Anderson

      If idiots would stop smoking that useful plant then there wouldn’t be a debate.

      So much of the pro-cannabis argument comes from stoners it’s hard to take it seriously.

      I think that if any part of the plant has medical uses, then by all means let’s use it. We use opium derivatives all the time. Cocaine is used as a local anesthetic in eye surgery all the time.

      Part of the issue is that opioids and coca derivatives have been used in medicine for a very long time. Science is only just beginning to look at cannabis. Whatever benefits it has WILL become accepted in the medical community, in time.

      But abusing it has negative affects, just like abusing cocaine or opium.

      I find it laughable when pot heads tell us that the smoke is “harmless.” As if the smoke they enjoy inhaling to get stoned just HAPPENS to be the only byproduct of the combustion of any organic substance known to science that has no harmful effects. In fact, it has much higher concentrations of several very harmful chemicals than tobacco smoke, including several known carcinogens. It IS addictive, for precisely the same reasons as many other substances and behaviors are addictive. Anything that causes your brain to release extra dopamine is potentially addictive, and pot certainly does that. (You wouldn’t smoke it if it didn’t.)

      The ignorance and superstition surrounding this plant exists on both sides of the issue.

      • Immortal Illumined

        the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING

        20 years behind us UTAH, sad and scary…the FEDS continue to deny my crew so I’m gonna go knock on the supreme courts door and when they look who’s there, i’m going to show them every g@# d@#n state in the Union….RIDE ON MY CREW…..love and freedom forever, rip founding fathers


      • Jose Melendez

        Laugh all you want, Eric. Cannabis and it’s preparations are not only far less harmful than any alternatives, it indisputably has neuroprotective effects and even protects against cancer.

        Anything else is a LIE.

      • Jose Melendez

        ” . . . (C)annabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

        from: Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants
        US Patent No. 6,630,507 assigned to the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2003

        source: http://www.google.com/patents/US6630507

  • Missy Long

    I have been following the progress of this from the very beginning. This should be classified as a hemp product due to the low THC amount. I can buy hemp products in Utah so this should also be available. Separate your thinking as this is just marijuana and educate yourself and classify this as a hemp product and allow these children to have a chance at a normal life. Please, do the research and see for yourself this can save lives and give life! Please!

  • Jose Melendez

    Q: “How do you manage a program being that it’s still illegal on the federal side?”

    A: Demonstrate that it’s unlawfully illegal.

    Cannabis and it’s preparations are listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, as if it had no accepted safe medical use in the United States despite many thousands of US patents that specifically detail uses with accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

    Cannabinoids are indisputably safer than inferior, toxic, overpriced and often deadly “legal” drugs, in fact they actually reduce cancer cells through a process called apoptosis.

    Check and mate.

  • joey

    The sky must be falling, is there common sense in Utah? Marijuana should have never been criminalized in the first place, it’s a crying shame this farce has been allowed to balloon out of control to the point where people can’t even access medicine.

  • Teri Swena

    I know first hand people who are using Marijuana in treatment for several disorders and illnesses. None live in Utah, and wouldn’t dream of living here due to the laws here. All of these people are seeing success in the treatment. Utah needs to wake up!

  • Cameron

    Representative Paul Ray asked a valid question. Fortunately, the answer is already written in Utah code: Hemp products are legal in this state. I can buy hemp lotion on my way home from work, today. This is a hemp product. A simple clarification of existing law, and we can finally get the proven, life-changing treatments our children need.

  • Immortal Illumined

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING

    20 years behind us Utah, for you to even deny freedoms to others is laughable, after all my crew does to fight for your rights, sad


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