ST. GEORGE – A bill sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, that would regulate the growth and distribution of hemp-grade cannabidiol oil products was approved by a House committee Monday.
The second substitute version of Senate Bill 130, “Cannabidiol Product Act,” unanimously passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and now goes to the House floor.
The Senate unanimously passed SB130 last week in a 28-0 vote with one senator absent.
Vickers’ bill is one of a group of marijuana-related bills are inching closer to passed the Legislature overall.
“We’re talking about cannabidiol – CBD. We’re not talking about THC,” Vickers said Monday. “We’re talking about hemp-grade CBD.”
Hemp is a strain of marijuana that contains very low levels of THC, the mind-altering chemical associated with marijuana.
What the bill does
The bill comes in two components, Vickers said. The first part asks the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice for a waiver to allow the state to produce hemp-grade CBD medications that can be recommended by doctors and sold through pharmacies.
The second component of the bill would give power to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to regulate and test CBD oils sold on store selves. This would allow the state to make sure the product being sold truly is cannabidiol and not something else.
There have been cases reported to the state through the Utah Poison Control Center of people becoming ill after using the store-bought CBD. Tests of the oil used afterward were found to either to contain traces of THC, spice and other substances, or to be placebos and be nothing more than corn oil.
“We have to address this,” Vickers said, adding he and other legislators have discussed possible solutions to the issue.
“We decided the best way to approach this was to regulate the product,” he said.
Scott Erickson, the deputy director of the state Department of Agriculture and Food, said the department supports Vickers’ bill. He told the committee there’s been a hole in federal law related to the issue and that CBD oils in Utah have been an unregulated product in the state. SB130 will help address that.
Though CBD oil is still technically illegal under federal law, Vickers previously stated DEA officials told him the agency is more concerned with addressing THC than its non-psychoactive counterpart.
Marijuana itself is still labeled by the DEA as a schedule I narcotic, which lumps it in with heroin. Those who advocate the plant’s legalization for medical use claim it can help those with epilepsy, as well as ease the pain associated with various other medical conditions.
Other marijuana legislation
In early February, the Utah House and Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed two marijuana-related bills proposed by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem.
HB195 allows terminally ill patients to try marijuana-derived medication via a physician’s recommendation. Accompanying this legislation is HB197, which allows the state to oversee the growth of full-strength marijuana for medical research purposes.
HB195 passed with a 40-26 vote Feb. 9 with eight representatives absent. Southern Utah Reps. Brad Last, Mike Noel, and V. Lowry Snow voted in favor of the bill while Reps. John Westwood and Merrill Nelsonvoted against it. Rep. Walt Brooks was absent for the vote.
HB197 passed with a 38-32 vote Feb. 13 with four representatives absent. Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Brad Last, Mike Noel and V. Lowry Snow voted in favor of the bill, while Reps. John Westwood and Merrill Nelson voted against it.
These bills now move to the Senate floor.
A third bill, HB302, also passed the House and would legalize the sale of hemp-based products in the state.
Daw’s bill will allow someone to participate in an industrial hemp research pilot program and sell hemp-based products provided they obtain a license from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
In additional to CBD oil, hemp-based products can include paper, rope, clothing and other items.
HB302 passed the House in a 57-10 vote Tuesday with eight representatives absent. Noel voted in favor of the bill, while Brooks, Nelson, Snow and Westwood voted against it. Last and Travis Seegmiller were absent.
The bill now goes to the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee for consideration.
- Read full text of the bill: 2018 Senate Bill 130, third substitute version – Cannabidiol Product Act
- Contact legislators
- Bill sponsor: Sen. Evans Vickers | House floor sponsor: Rep. Brad Daw
- Southern Utah Senators: Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, David Hinkins and Ralph Okerlund| Listing of all senators.
- Southern Utah Representatives: Travis Seegmiller, Bradley Last, V. Lowry Snow, Walt Brooks, John Westwood, Merrill Nelson and Michael Noel | Listing of all members of the House of Representatives.
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