Senate passes cannabis bill

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SALT LAKE CITY -- After mothers spent months pushing state lawmakers to grant access to cannabis oil to help children suffering from epilepsy, the Utah Senate unanimously passed a bill to make a reality.

House Bill 105 would allow parents to possess cannabidiol without fear of prosecution as long as they had their doctor's permission and a waiver.

Before the bill passed, senators gave a standing ovation to Jeff and Catrina Nelson and their 6 year-old daughter, Charlee, who's in hospice care after suffering hundreds of seizures a day for three years.

"The doctors have given her weeks to months to live," Catrina Nelson said.

For the Nelsons, HB 105 passing is bittersweet.

"We're thinking this bill is too late for Charlee, she's in her last days," Sen. Steve Urquhart said.

The Nelsons wish their daughter could've legally tried cannabis oil after hearing of dramatic seizure reduction. CBD oil wouldn't have saved Charlee, the Nelsons said, but it could have extended her life and given her a better quality of life.

"We just hope this will help a lot of other children in similar circumstances so they don't have to go through this," Jeff Nelson said.

CBD oil has high levels of cannabaidiol, but very low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Parents in the epileptic community spent months stressing to lawmakers, this is not marijuana, it's a hemp supplement. Those families have now won over the conservative senate.

"I am so relieved, so amazed," Kris Hanson said as she cried. Her 15 year-old daughter may have a new lease on life thanks to the extract.

Another parent celebrating is Neon Trees' bassist Branden Campbell, who's son has epilepsy.

"It's the greatest feeling," Campbell said. "Six months ago we had members of the house of representatives in our home telling us it would take 10 years for something like this to happen and to see six months later we got results because we got involved."

From the beginning lawmakers had concerns that CBD oil could open the doors to medical marijuana in Utah. And as the fight continued, lawmakers went back and forth over specifics in the bill.

"One important thing that was missing from the bill in my mind was how do we determine the quality control of the hemp oil that's administered to our kids," Sen. John Valentine said.

A licensed lab, an independent third party, in the state the extract is produced will verify its quality. The bill went through nine revisions and the additional oversight convinced conservative lawmakers to jump on board, passing HB 105 unanimously with a 26-0 vote.

"I feel comfortable to step out in space and take a chance," Sen. Lyle Hillyard from Logan said.

Gov. Gary Herbert still has to sign the legislation.

"The concept of having cannabis oil as a medication to help with the treatment of seizures and other issues is one I support," Herbert said.

Herbert adds that as long as there's proper oversight, quality control and the product shows that it works over time, he's supportive.


  • amanda

    Great, now how bout making the plant accessible for those who have cancer? My grandma’s sitting in Utah dying of stage 4 terminal and half the rest of my family in Utah has had a diagnosis of some form of cancer while you sit there taking your time.

    • Brock Lierd

      Cbds can help your family as well. A company that is just starting is coming out with many cbd specific products for the average consumer and high cbd oils for epileptic children and the terminally ill. You should look into it. Research here at Join the Kannaway movement here. my id is 4885783

  • Karl

    The fact is it is still not legally accessible. How do these people get this oil?. Go next door to Colorado and get it? Crossing state lines with it is a federal offense. We must produce this oil and other forms of medical marijuana in Utah if we really want to help sick people.

    • Colton

      The article states that a third party lab will produce/extract the cbd and make sure its quality is high enough to give to the children, that being said regardless of where it comes from it wouldn’t break laws to ship here because it contains as little thc as possible. The only reason people are sensitive about marijuana is because thc is a psychoactive ingredient, cbd isn’t.

  • sabermonkey

    Okay so edits for the paper, CBD stands for cannabiadial you could jusJust say CBD oil. But explane what it stand for before you write it as such. If straigh CBD oil, there is no THC in it, the new product from GW pharm will have a small amount it in due to the fact they are finding all the different cannibanoids work better as a synergistic unit….. now as for the comment on not being illegal to ship here, unfortunantly in Colorado law you cant take plants out of Colorado once grown there. It has been a reason so many families had to move there.

  • BroDoYouEvenEnglish

    “Another parent celebrating is Neon Trees’ bassist Branden Campbell, who’s son has epilepsy.”


  • Lori

    My concern is that it will only be for children what about MY Child he is 25 but still my child he is Epileptic and has grand maul seizures Depakote only makes them worse plus he is ADHD he cant take pain med’s because they make him seize. This Oil may help him in more ways then one because when he was younger & experimenting we found out that smoking it decreased his seizures helped with his ADHD and his pain especially after a seizure. And does not have all the side effects that the medications he is on has I hope they see this is better then half the stuff that is Mn made

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