ST. GEORGE – While two bills sit in the Utah Legislature, a group advocating for responsible medicinal use of cannabis will host a panel discussion for the public Tuesday in Washington City exploring ways to get medical use of cannabis legalized in Utah.
Truce, for Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, will present its panel discussion at the Washington City branch of the Washington County Library, 220 N. 300 East. The discussion will run from 5-6:45 p.m. Tuesday, promising cannabis education and discussion.
Representing Truce’s board, president Christine Stenquist, vice president Mindy Vincent and member Doug Rice, will be on the panel to share their stories and to discuss:
- Where are we now on cannabis?
- What are our options locally and federally?
- How do you get involved?
Truce supports open access to cannabis for medical patients. It has been in the news in recent months expressing frustration over the actions, or lack thereof, of Utah legislators concerning marijuana policy.
In a Jan. 27 press conference, lawmakers working on the cannabis issue announced there would be no policy allowing access to medicinal marijuana proposed in the Legislature this year. Instead, they would advance two related bills promoting research and building a framework for day-to-day regulatory infrastructure.
The Cannabinoid Research bill, designated as 2017 House Bill 130, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, passed the Utah House and has made it through second reading in the Senate but sits tabled on third reading calendar, according to the Senate calendar updated Sunday, the final voting step of the Legislature’s process.
Southern Utah’s Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, sponsored the House research bill in the Senate. In a newsletter briefing this week, he wrote:
This bill creates greater opportunity for rigorous, documented, controlled, FDA-standard studies of the effects of cannabis products in certain medical conditions. We are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty concerning medical marijuana regulation on the federal level. We have a new presidential administration that is sending significant messages that they will take a different approach to this policy than the Obama administration did. With this thought in mind, Rep. Daw, Rep. Froerer, Sen. Shiozawa and myself felt it was prudent that we focus our attention on how we can expand research which continues to be lacking and on the policies as to how the state would administer a program if cannabis use is approved at some point in the future.
Truce and others argue that enough research has been done and legislators are needlessly keeping access to medicinal cannabis away from those who could benefit from its use. To this end, they have begun to look into the possibility of taking the question to the voters.
The Cannabinoid Product Act is the policy framework bill, designated as 2017 Senate Bill 211, sponsored by Vickers. It has made it through second reading in the Senate and sits on the third reading calendar as of Saturday, pending final passage before moving to the House.
“The legislature only wants to do a regulatory framework and taxpayer-funded research that is unnecessary and duplicative,” Stenquist said in a statement following the Jan. 27 press conference.
“The path forward continues the victimization of patients in Utah,” she said. “We are surrounded by states that have whole plant cannabis access and our sister state Idaho has decided to move forward on a ballot initiative. It is time for Utah to do the same.”
Profiles of featured panelists
Stenquist, Truce president and co-founder, is a brain tumor patient who was bedridden and housebound for 16 years when she discovered and began using medicinal cannabis. She believes this improved her health, which ultimately led to advocacy work. Stenquist has been advocating for medical cannabis throughout the last four legislative sessions. For her efforts, she was given the Courage award from Americans for Safe Access and the Liberty Cap from Libertas Institute. She has traveled to D.C. to lobby on the federal efforts too.
Vincent, Truce vice president, is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of addiction, mental health and trauma. She is also the executive director of the Utah Harm Reduction Coalition and is a student at University of Utah in its executive masters of public administration program. Vincent lost her sister to a heroin and suboxone overdose.
Rice, Truce board member, is vice president of the Utah Epilepsy Association. Rice is a licensed paramedic and a former fire captain. He is a caregiver to his special needs daughter, Ashley, who suffers from Angleman Syndrome. He is also a cancer survivor himself. Rice is a passionate supporter of patient access and has been a citizen lobbyist for cannabis since 2014. He was also one of the first 50 people in the state to obtain a Utah hemp registry card for his child.
- What: Truce panel promoting medical cannabis education and discussion.
- When: 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Tuesday, March 7.
- Where: Washington City branch of the Washington County Library, 220 N. 300 East, Washington City.
- Admission: Free.
- More information: Truce website.
Ed. note and resources
Cannabinoid Research – 2017 HB 130-S2
Southern Utah’s representatives except for Rep. John Westwood voted for the Cannabinoid Research bill, which passed the House 70-2 with 3 absent or not voting. The bill moved to the Senate where it was considered by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Southern Utah’s Sen. Evan Vickers sits on the committee and voted for the second substitute bill and its favorable recommendation to the Senate. All senators representing Southern Utah voted for the second substitute which passed second reading 27-1 with 1 absent or not voting. The Bill has been on the third reading calendar since Feb. 22 and shows as tabled as of Sunday.
Read the current version of the bill: HB 130-S2 – Cannabinoid Research – 2017
Cannabinoid Product Act – 2017 SB 211-S2
The Cannabinoid Product Act was introduced in the Senate where it went before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Southern Utah’s Sen. Evan Vickers sits on the committee and voted for its second substitute and subsequent committee recommendation, 5-3. All senators representing Southern Utah voted for the substitute bill on Senate second reading, which passed 27-0 with 2 absent or not voting. The bill now sits on the third reading calendar for final vote before passing to the House for consideration.
Read the current version of the bill: 2017 SB 211-S2 – Cannabinoid Product Act (second substitute)
To contact your legislators:
- Southern Utah Sens. Ralph Okerlund, Don Ipson, Evan Vickers and David Hinkins | Listing of all senators.
- Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Stanard | Listing of all members of the House of Representatives.
Ed. note: It was reported that Doug Rice was a retired fire chief. This was reported in error and has been corrected in the body of the text.
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