HB 105: Medical Cannabis Proposal in Utah

Representative Gage Froerer has introduced House Bill 105 which exempts qualified individuals from the penalties of the controlled substances act which makes hemp extract illegal when it is used for qualifying purposes.  It also permits the Department of Health to issue a hemp extract registration card to qualified individuals.

“Hemp extract” is any extract from a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and does not contain any other psychoactive substance.

If passed, the new law would allow anyone over the age of 18 to legally use medical hemp extract if the applicant meets the following requirements:

  • The applicant is a Utah resident;
  • The applicant provides a written statement signed by a physician that the applicant may benefit from the medical cannabis;
  • Pays the application fee; and,
  • Submits the appropriate application.

The law would also permit a parent or guardian of a minor to administer the medical marijuana to the minor child if the parent or guardian has registered with the Department of Health.

This law could drastically reduce the number of possession of marijuana citations handed out each year in Utah.  Those who have a legitimate medical need will finally be able to have legal access to marijuana which can alleviate pain for the terminally ill, cancer patients, and others.  At the same time it will allow others to feign an illness in order to get a doctor’s note for medical marijuana.  Some people will see that as a good thing because access to marijuana will be more open.  Others will think it is a bad thing on moral grounds.

It’s unclear what type of  opposition or support this bill will have, but if it works toward decriminalizing marijuana it can only act as a positive.  Unless and until this law is passed, however, marijuana remains illegal in this state and anyone who possesses, uses, sales, distributes, or produces it will be at risk for being charged and convicted of a crime, spending time in jail, paying fines, and not being able to have access to a product that can be very beneficial for the sick.

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