Potential patients, Utah lawmakers debate legalizing access to medical marijuana

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Medical marijuana is at the forefront of the state legislature again, as the interim State Health and Human Services Committee heard emotional stories Wednesday from those who are advocating for the medical uses the plant has to offer.

Several patients who suffer from different diseases that cause chronic pain spoke Wednesday, and they repeatedly said medical marijuana taken in other states relieves them of that pain and helps them lead a more normal lifestyle.

Those same patients have been prescribed medications in Utah, some that have horrible side effects, and also opiates--which they say do not help them. They want to see medicinal marijuana legalized immediately, but lawmakers said they still want to see more research done.

“But if a medical physician could be able to monitor it as we go along, and be able to have that resource from a doctor that knows what's going on, or a scientific base of knowledge to know what to look out for so that we know what to watch for and what to monitor,” said Rep. Norm Thurston, R-District 64.

Jessica Glem suffers from a rare, chronic neuropathic pain disorder, and she spoke in favor of medical marijuana in Utah.

“My quality of life is what I will continue to advocate for, because that is all I have every single day,” she said. “I am looking for functional days and quality of life, and that is what I see legal, medical cannabis in the state of Utah providing for me and others like me."

See the video above for more details from Wednesday's hearing.

The next committee meeting regarding medical marijuana in Utah will be held in August.

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