Medical marijuana bill set to be unveiled in the Utah State Legislature

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill that would allow for medical-grade cannabis in Utah is set to be unveiled in the state legislature.

The bill, simply titled, "Medical Cannabis Amendments," has not been released yet. Its sponsor, Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, declined to comment to FOX 13 about it on Friday saying he was still working on the language of it.

Despite his silence, Madsen's bill is generating a lot of talk on Utah's Capitol Hill.

"Anything with the word 'marijuana' in it will create some concerns," said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy. "But it’s hard… it’s just too early to tell and make any comments until we see what the language of the bill is."

People familiar with the bill tell FOX 13 that it would allow for medical-grade cannabis products to be distributed in Utah, through dispensaries. Smoking marijuana would remain illegal.

On Friday, House and Senate Republican leaders were reluctant to talk about the bill. They confirmed that Madsen had presented the idea to their closed caucuses.

"Once it gets out and everyone has a chance to look at it, we’ll be talking about it more," said Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.

Some past advocates for cannabis-related products for medical needs were watching with interest.

"We’re not quite sure what to think at this point, frankly," said Jennifer May, a co-founder of Hope for Children with Epilepsy, a group that pushed lawmakers last year to pass a bill that allowed for a type of cannabis oil to help epileptic children.

May said last year's bill has already shown some signs of success for the quality of life for children with serious medical issues.

"We’re hoping that the results from the use here in Utah of both the pharmaceutical product and the artisan oils will show that cannabis does have medicinal benefit," she said.

May said lawmakers should have a healthy discussion about medical cannabis -- rejecting the term "medical marijuana." She said while they discuss cannabis use for medical purposes, they should also talk drug prevention and substance abuse.

"We need to move the discussion from 'this is a drug we don’t talk about or ever use' over to a product or substance that can be used for many different purposes and it needs to be used for the proper purpose, just like we do with pharmaceuticals," she said.

Governor Gary Herbert's Office said he is opposed to the concept of medical marijuana. The "Medical Cannabis Amendments" bill is expected to be unveiled next week.

21 comments

  • PhDScientist

    For Cancer patients, for kids suffering from Seizures, and for so many others, safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana is a matter of life and death. Its critical that Marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 immediately. Please call the whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President get that to happen, to protect the health and safety of Americans that need Medical Marijuana. Have everyone else you know call them too.

    I’m a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research. The clinical evidence of the value of Marijuana as a life saving medicine is now so strong that the need to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 has become a moral imperative. Google Medical Marijuana testimonials. Google Medical Marijuana Cancer Patient Testimonials.

    This weekend over 3,000 Americans will die, in pain, of Cancer. Every day after that, 1,500 more Americans will die, after suffering horribly, from it. Every single minute another American dies of Cancer. Every American Cancer patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, and economical access to Medical Marijuana. Every single one.

    Americans who need Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “Political Footballs” Please call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President take immediate action to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 so American Physicians in all 50 states can prescribe it.

    Oncologists have know it for more than a quarter of a Century that Marijuana is a “wonder drug” for helping Cancer patients.

    The American Society of Clinical Oncologists wants Marijuana removed from Schedule 1. So does the American Medical Association, the professional society of all Physicians. A strong majority of Americans want Physicians in all 50 states to be able to prescribe Medical Marijuana. So do their Physicians., Cancer patients can’t wait.

    The need to immediately, completely, legalize Marijuana throughout the world is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time, because of its medical benefits and because of the damage prohibition causes to America and to the world.

    Complete legalization is critical — its vital that there aren’t “strings” or “hoops” that Cancer patients and others who need Medical Marijuana are forced to jump through.

    “Charlottes web” is NOT the solution. Cancer patients and people who suffer from chronic pain need THC, not just CBD. The “Berkeley study”, where 96% of stage 4 Cancer patients who had a wide variety of Cancers achieved remission, used high dose Medical Marijuana oil, 72% THC, 28% CBD, 1 gram/day (oral) over a 90 day course of treatment. It was a small study, and not placebo controlled, but those kinds of results are clearly remarkable, have been widely reported on in the press, and demand the need for immediate large scale clinical trials.

    More and more present and former members of law enforcement agree about the need to end prohibition, and have formed a rapidly expanding group of current and former undercover cops, FBI, DEA, prosecutors and Judges, from all over the world, called

    LEAP — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    because they’ve seen the damage prohibition causes to America and the world.

    See http://www.leap.cc/

    I’m a Scientist. Not a politician, not a cop.

    But as a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research, I feel even more strongly about the need to ensure that no Cancer patient is denied it, because I’m so impressed with its benefits for Cancer patients.

    I urge everyone reading this to PLEASE call and email the Attorney General, the press, Congress and the President today.

    Medical Marijuana helps with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Cancer, seizures, PTSD and chronic pain, and has helped many Americans, including many veterans, stop using Alcohol, and hard drugs, both legal and illegal ones.

    Every minute an American dies of Cancer.

    Every 19 minutes an American dies of a prescription drug overdose.

    Many vets become addicted to prescription opiates and die from them.

    NOBODY has ever died from smoking too much pot.

    Cancer patients are seeing remarkable results using high dose Medical Marijuana oil, in many cases achieving complete remission, even for stage 4 cancers — there are many excellent articles on the web, and videos on youtube with patient’s personal stories about their experiences with it — and every Cancer patient that uses Marijuana to ease their suffering benefits greatly from doing so.

    It is immoral to leave Marijuana illegal, for anyone, for even a second longer.

    For Cancer patients, its a matter of life and death.

    Cancer patients can’t wait.

    Medical Marijuana has an unmatched safety profile, and for people who suffer from so many diseases, of so many kinds, its a medical miracle — and the scientific evidence behind it is rock solid.

    For Cancer patients, Medical Marijuana encourages apoptosis and autophagy of Cancer cells, while leaving normal cells untouched, is anti-angigogenic, anti-proliferative, and is anti-angiogenic.

    Its also synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, making both more effective.

    For many Cancer patients its meant the difference between life and death.

    For everyone else, its a far safer alternative to Alcohol, and infinitely safer than Cigarettes.

    Either take them off the market too, or legalize Marijuana right now.

    2016 is too far away, Its too long to wait. Every year we lose more Americans to Cancer than died in WWII.

    Between now and the 2016 elections, roughly 1 MILLION Americans will die of Cancer.

    And Its a horrible way to die.

    • bob

      Nice cut-and-paste, but the idea that pot is a cure for cancer is hilarious!

      It’s an outright lie to claim that almost ALL Stage Four cancer patients achieve remission if they get high. If you’re a “scientist”, as you claim, show us the peer-reviewed, published studies that confirm it.

      And “the Berkeley study”? Are you serious? LOL!

      If pot cures cancer then I guess it’s true that no hippies ever die of cancer, right? BOB MARLEY died of cancer. Case closed.

  • BossIlluminati

    Fastest growing industry in America? Legal marijuana, coming to your town very soon….#1 crop in California and LEGAL in ALL west coast states, #$$$GrowsOnTrees

    spent our lives protecting your freedoms UTAH, we expect you to support this with ease

  • Brad

    If it helps people with cancer I am all for it. Or anyother medical issues it can help with. Will it pass in Utah no, why because when it comes to helping the poor and the sick people in utah suddenly it becomes a mute topic. Example medicade. “Governor Gary Herbert’s Office said he is opposed to the concept of medical marijuana.”

  • bob

    “Medicine” of any kind should be subject to the same FDA regulations and processes as any other medicine. Why should pot get a special exemption?

    • C'MON bob

      Because Cannabis is an herb; medications are chemically compounded by man when cannabis is naturally grown. Is a pine tree subject to the FDA?

    • CR Liberty

      I’m curious why you would even care Bob. What’s your beef with marijuana? All anyone in Utah who isn’t already aware is that it is far safer then state approved alcohol. The Nanny State wants to keep the black market flourishing, enriching cartels and for profit marijuana profiteers. Why? To save the children of course! It makes for good election talk and gives haters a warm fuzzy feeling when they are broadcasting reefer madness.

      The fact that marijuana is not illegal because it is dangerous; it is dangerous because it is illegal is not lost on the Millennial generation who will not let the fraud of marijuana prohibition stand much longer. When is it legal Utah and America will be freer, richer and safer. Now, let the reefer madness begin! And please, let’s hear more than the gateway theory – save the children garbage. The gateway danger from marijuana is that the State Legislature and US Congress have policy in place that makes it the gateway to criminal records for our youth.

      The tax revenue collected in neighboring states is already building and repairing schools and bridges as you watch and wait! Government waste is all prohibition is, nanny state infringement. Ask your legislator next time you talk to them what the difference is between a vice and a crime and let em know you seek change in marijuana policy! As marijuana is sold daily throughout the state, you leave that money sitting on the table by not collecting tax on sales. Not very bright; ah the costs and ruinous waste of piety!

    • Sensible Advocate

      We should be putting whole plant therapies right up against the pharmaceuticals not trying to strip out one compound that does one thing. Pharmaceuticals medicines are made in labs special labs that are built for each medicine. Complimentary medicines are prescribed to manage side effects. Cannabis medicine is made inside the plant and special plants are bread to make each medicine. The plant includes compounds to regulate negative side effects so few complimentary medicines need to be taken. Like any medicine, cannabis won’t work as well for everyone but it will provide superior relief for alot of Utahns with expensive diseases for less money. By making a system that is open for all, sick adults will identify themselves as healthy individuals using an herbal supplement to maintain health. By making a medical only system, people are incentivized to identify themselves by thier disease and stay sick as long as possible.

  • Destiny

    Ive never done any type of recreational drug but I also have chronic daily headaches which means I have had a headache for the past 11 years 24 hours a day with no break. I have also spent around 15000 grand on my condition without even being able to lower the pain. I dont know the science behind it but I do know some people say it helps with headaches. I wont take any type of medication that makes me feel high and I definitely wont smoke anything. I haven’t really done much research but the oil they were talking about in previous articles doesn’t sound like it would give you a high. All in all I don’t see the problem passing the bill for the oil if it can’t get you high and I’m at the end if my rope.

  • Trevor

    It’s 2015 and there still telling us we can’t touch a natural healing plant? It’s because the politicians don’t have epileptic kids that they have to watch suffer day in and day out! Either they have no empathy or big pharma is paying them way to much to care! Imo

  • David Eldredge

    Progress for Utah. Yet it is way too narrow and the bill is only covering a small sliver of the good marijuana can provide to so many other ailments. There are over 1500 strains of cannabis from two main species, sativa and indica. THC is the most commonly recognized active molecule, that which is most sought after by counter culture going back to the sixties and the hippies. CBD is another major component, it is most effective in treating mood disorders, anxiety, panic attacks and depression along with another very important molecule called beta caryopyllen a terpene that gives marijuana its skunk odor. The bill will not allow one to smoke the pot, which is the fastest easiest way to get the medicine in to the blood stream. For one having a panic attack, a strain with high CBD and lower THC would need to be smoked or use an expensive device that vaporizes the dry product. One more note… there are actually 60 plus other known molecules in marijuana that work in concert. The THC may be like the brass section, CBD the string section and the others woodwinds, percussion etc. It would not work or be as effective separating and using only one of the components. For example The receptors CB1 and CB2 in the brain both bind THC but CBD only bindsd to the CB2 receptor and is a perfect regulating system. Without CBD the THC causes havoc in the mind all on its own. I have friends who have OD on pain meds as a result of depression when if they had a source of weed, they would have been able to get past the depression spell and moved on.
    There is so much more I can write and say about this. Hopefully the discussion will get started.

  • Nathan2B

    Kind of Funny I see people saying it needs to be approved by the FDA. I find that funny because every drug that has been recalled by the FDA has at one point in time or another was approved by the FDA. So I don’t have the greatest faith in the FDA approval process. I suffer from Migraines and Chronic pain due to Degenerative Disk disease in my neck and Lower back, my own Doctor has told me on Multiple occasions that if he could prescribe Medical Marijuana he would do it in a Heart beat, as he does believe in the Properties related to “pot” are beneficial. Researchers in the Field of Alzheimer’s treatment and the NIH have proven that THC helps slow the Course of Alzheimer’s when treated Early enough. Feel free to Google THC and Alzheimer’s. Just because the FDA approves a Drug or medication does not mean it is 100% safe and not going to have Serious long terms Issues. My Father has been on diabetes medication for over a decade now, and We are finding out that the Medication is Causing issues with his Kidneys and Liver, Again I have little faith in the FDA, The only real reason Pot is Illegal is because the Big pharmaceuticals want it illegal, because it would put some of them out of business or cause them to lose Profits.

  • Zacharias Lutich

    Today is eating disorder awareness day… hmmm medical cannabis would treat this. hey Mormon swine go smoke a bowl so the rest of us can live our lives peacefully, and after I type this I going to get the munchies.

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