Utah’s Health and Human Services Interim Committee voted this week, by a 10-5 majority, to support a proposal to make a marijuana oil extract available by prescription in the state. The group has not yet voted on an overarching proposal that could roll out a more comprehensive marijuana initiative but the support shown this week of the extract called cannabidiol is a good sign for those hoping to advance medicinal marijuana usage for Utah residents.
Cannabidiol is often used to treat conditions like chronic pain and seizures. It is high in CBD, but low in THC. THC is a chemical in marijuana that acts as a hallucinogen. It’s what gets people high. Marijuana products prescribed to treat chronic conditions and diseases like cancer and HIV typically are intentionally low in THC.
This does not mean that cannabidiol is now legal or available in Utah. State lawmakers will begin hearings around the issue again in January 2016.
The advancement of medicinal marijuana programming in Utah has been somewhat of an uphill battle. State lawmakers have alluded to concerns of medicinal use approval being a slippery slope for recreational approval, which is far from accepted.
Utah resident and Saratoga Springs Republican Senator Mark Madsen has proposed a similar measure also open for debate this term. Madsen has gone on record as using marijuana himself to treat chronic back pain. Madsen’s proposal is a bit more broad and would make available edibles with higher THC levels, but would maintain a ban on actually smoking weed.
“I believe the people of Utah are at least as smart as the people of 23 other states that have medical cannabis,” Madsen said this earlier this week, according to the Associated Press.
If medicinal weed use does not come to fruition in Utah this legislative season, Madsen says he will move to one of those 23 states that does allow it.