This bill, as a ninth substitute, passed the House 58-9 and passed the Senate unanimously. Visit our Legislative Index to see the final vote rankings for the 2014 general session.
Libertas Institute supports this bill.
Nearly two dozen states throughout the nation have legalized marijuana to some degree. Public support has changed in recent years, and a majority of Utahns support allowing patients to have access to the cannabis plant for medical use.
A new bill by Representative Gage Froerer, House Bill 105, would allow Utahns to obtain a “hemp extract registration card” after furnishing a letter from their doctor indicating “that the individual may benefit from treatment with hemp extract.” Hemp extract is defined as defined as extract from the cannabis plant that “is composed of less than 0.3% THC by weight, and contains no other psychoactive substance.”
An interview published by Libertas Institute this year featured the story of Jennifer May, a Utah mother whose son, Stockton, suffers from debilitating epileptic seizures. Children like Stockton who have Dravet syndrome have found amazing success being treated with cannabis oil in Colorado and in other states where the product is legal. Utah parents have been fighting for access to this medical treatment in our state as well.
We believe that no government agent has the authority to stand between a doctor and his patient. If a doctor believes that a certain treatment will help a patient, then that patient should be legally able to access that product. This already holds true with opiates in Utah, and we believe that cannabis should similarly be accessible—especially in cases where it is a young child who is suffering, as is the case with Stockton and other children like him.
We recognize that many Utahns are concerned about the potential for abuse with this drug, but that concern is not a sufficient reason to prohibit sick people from obtaining what they need. Guns, cars, alcohol, and even the written word can be abused to do damage, and yet these are still accessible to those who use their for morally beneficial (or neutral) purposes.
We look forward to the discussion surrounding this bill and hope to see suffering Utahns obtain access to this potentially helpful product to both alleviate and treat their medical problems.