Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bill would allow cannabis extract for seizure treatment in Utah

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Feb. 5 5:35 p.m. MST

 Duchesne County Sheriff's office show off plants seized in a marijuana growing operation. A bill introduced Wednesday would allow Utahns to buy a drug extracted from marijuana plants that has potential to help children who suffer from seizures.

Duchesne County Sheriff's office show off plants seized in a marijuana growing operation. A bill introduced Wednesday would allow Utahns to buy a drug extracted from marijuana plants that has potential to help children who suffer from seizures.

(, Duchesne County Sheriff's Office)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill introduced Wednesday would allow Utahns to buy a drug extracted from marijuana plants that has potential to help children who suffer from seizures.

HB105, sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, would legalize the possession and use of hemp oil extract, made from the cannabis plant. It calls for the Utah Department of Health to issue registration cards to residents who meet certain requirements, including a doctor's statement that the person would benefit from treatment with hemp extract.

Froerer earlier said the extract has been shown in small studies to reduce the number of daily seizures epileptic children experience.

Of the nearly 100,000 Utahns who suffer from epilepsy, about 33,000 have refractory, or difficult to control, seizures, and about 10,000 are children, according to the Epilepsy Association of Utah.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said she hadn't read Froerer's bill yet but is "very much aware" of the issue, having spent time with mothers who believe their children are being helped by using the product.

"It's a tough issue," the speaker said. "The legalization of marijuana is not a path we want to take. But when you see real people and real children with significant challenges and it seems this product is helping those children, you have to think about it, think long and hard."

Lockhart, a nurse, said she is still deciding whether to support the legislation.

"I don't know yet where I am on it. It's one of those ones you do some soul-searching on," she said.

Lockhart said the issue is getting attention.

"A lot of people are listening, and a lot of people have great compassion for the situation these families are in," she said.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said the big question is how hemp extract would be distributed. Niederhauser said he wants it to be available for children but in a controlled way.

"We're not going down the road like Colorado or Washington," he said. Both states legalized marijuana beginning this year.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy, DNewsPolitics

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1. joegibbs09
Orem, UT,
Feb. 5, 2014

It's a great step in the right direction, but let's not stop at highly selective applications of the plant. I'd love to solve my chronic insomnia without breaking laws, and without taking synthetic sleep aids that instantly caused a dependence.

2. Way of the Warrior
Arlington, WA,
Feb. 5, 2014

"It's a tough issue," the speaker said. "The legalization of marijuana is not a path we want to take. But when you see real people and real children with significant challenges and it seems this product is helping those children, you have to think about it, think long and hard."

Yes, the decision to allow someone to make their lives better, especially if their children is such a difficult, difficult dilemma. Gosh what to do, what to do...hmmmm...let me do some soul searching since were talking about real people this time.

3. DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Feb. 5, 2014

It's a slippery slope. Some will be delighted, and eager to slide into the abyss. Others will try to hold the line at this seemingly rational easing of the laws for a legitimate medical use.

However, go to Denver and see the plethora of pot shops and "doctors" next to them to write "prescriptions for all the sick people."

Pot is not a cure, but a cause of illness.

4. cjb
Bountiful, UT,
Feb. 6, 2014

Marijuana like anything else has its place and is good if properly used, and is bad if it is misused.

5. JimInSLC
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 6, 2014

I do not smoke pot and do not suggest anyone do so, but as this article shows there are some people whose lives are benefited by the use some of the products of the cannabis plant that have medicinal properties. This Bill should be passed.

On a related topic, Industrial Hemp should be allowed to be grown in Utah. There is a use for this plant in textile manufacture and industry. Also, it would be a good plant for livestock feed. Brigham Young proposed that the early settlers in Utah grow hemp. California has passed a law allowing growing of Industrial Hemp, and Colorado and Kentucky are working on such legislation. There is a market for this product that will be filled and Utah should get onboard early to help provide it. The US imports over $100 million of hemp products annually. The farm bill recently passed in the House of Representatives allows for growing industrial hemp at the federal level. This State Bill should be expanded to allow growing Hemp in Utah so that Utah farmers can get an early foothold in this market. Industrial Hemp farming will create more jobs in Utah.