Utah legalizes CBD, but won’t let anyone actually grow cannabis


Bernard Gagnon.

Utah parents of children suffering from severe seizure disorders can now obtain CBD-based medicines for their children thanks to a bill signed into law yesterday by Gov. Gary Herbert.
The only catch: the parents can’t purchase the oil anywhere in Utah, nor can they grow plants to make the oil themselves. Instead, Utah lawmakers are forcing the families to travel out of state, purchase the oil, then break federal and local laws bringing it back home with them.

Regardless of the major flaws in the legislation, about 50 desperate families cheered on the governor as he signed the bill yesterday. Utah state Rep. Gage Froerer, author of the bill, recognized that they were putting families in a tight spot, but quipped that they were desperate enough to break the laws of other states (like Colorado’s law banning cannabis in airports) and federal laws (like interstate transport of a federally illegal substance). Not only that, but the law expires in 2016 and requires a neurologist to sign off on the recommendation along with the pediatrician seeing the child. It’s also restricted only to minors. Adults with seizure disorders are just going to have to suffer.
Basically, the only way to get medical marijuana passed in Utah is to not really pass medical marijuana laws at all. Utah lawmakers don’t really care about helping families (if they did, they would allow the oil to be produced in-state), they just want to appear like they do.
As Paul Armentano, deputy director for NORML, said: “The proposed solution to their plight is not a solution at all.”
Only a handful of medical marijuana states allow for out-of-state medical marijuana patients to legally obtain cannabis and cannabis extracts. The bill has been predicated on parents being able to travel to Colorado to obtain a strain called Charlottes Web, a high CBD plant that happens to have been touted by the mainstream media as the only high CBD strain able to help children. Colorado law forbids out-of-state medical marijuana patients from purchasing medical cannabis, however. That would force Utah parents to purchase the oil through recreational cannabis outlets in Colorado, subjecting them to much higher prices and taxes. It would also put those families at the back of the line behind actual Colorado medical marijuana patients who have been waiting to get the oil themselves.
Alabama is considering similar legislation.