The conservative bastion of Utah could join twenty-three other states in permitting medical cannabis, under new legislation introduced today.
Senate Bill 259 from Sen. Mark B. Madsen would create a state registry of medical cannabis patients who could possess and use the botanical drug. The bill would also direct the state of Utah to issue licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
A Utah medical marijuana law would give the seriously ill a small, highly regulated degree of medical freedom, said Sen. Madsen in a release.
“Personally, I think this is especially good as an alternative to opiates. We have seen that when this is available, overdoses go down,” Madsen said.
Utah has the eighth highest prescription drug overdose rate in the nation, with 46 Utah residents dying each day from an accidental opioid overdose. By contrast, states with medical cannabis laws saw their painkiller deaths drop by 25 percent. Cannabis is among the most non-toxic analgesics in the pharmacopeia.
“Why is government denying relief to citizens who can certainly benefit because other may potentially abuse it?” Madsen stated.
Drug Policy Project of Utah President Christine Stenquist will testify in committee Thursday that cannabis therapies saved her life from a brain tumor and fibromyalgia, after conventional medications failed.
“I don’t want anyone else to have to give up 20 years of their life because of bad policy,” she stated.