Legislature sends marijuana-related bills to governor’s desk

In this file photo, Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, speaks at an event at the Southwest Behavioral Center, St. George, Utah, Jan. 17, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Three marijuana-related bills are making their way to the governor’s desk after passing their last hurdles in the Legislature this week.

The Senate passed two companion bills by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, Wednesday. One setting forth medical cannabis policy, designated 2018 HB 195, will allow terminally ill patients with an estimated six months left to live the right to try medicinal marijuana. Its companion bill, designated 2018 HB 197, will add Cannabis Cultivation and Cannabis Payment Processor provisions to Utah law and other amendments that collectively will enable the state to oversee the growth marijuana for medical research.

For people in the terminal stage of life, it has the potential to give them relief,” the bills co-sponsor Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said the real decision about medical marijuana will be made by the voters in November, referring to a ballot initiative seeking to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

“This has a very, very limited effect for people who are dying when there are many, many people who are agonizing now,” Dabakis said.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, (left-back) shares his opinion that HB 195, which would allow the terminally ill to try medical marijuana medication, doesn’t go far enough. The bill is co-sponsered by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City (right-front),  Salt Lake City, Utah, March 6, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Legislature, St. George News

Among those supporting the bill was Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City. Her late husband had “the worst of the worst cancers” 10 years ago and was told by a doctor then that using medical marijuana would help ease his pain, she said. However, her husband chose not to use the marijuana because “he was a senator and didn’t want to go there.”

The doctor gave Mayne’s husband about two years to live and he died nine months later, she said

“I urge senators to do this,” Mayne said. “We need to give relief. We’re here to help these people.”

Research granted under the cannabis cultivation amendments will mainly deal with CBD-based medications with low amounts of THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, in a 10-to-1 ratio. These experimental medications will be given to terminal patients to try via a physician’s recommendation.

The medical cannabis policy bill passed the Senate Wednesday with a 19-3 vote with 7 senators absent or not voting.  It passed the House in early February, 40-26 with eight absent or not voting.

The cannabis cultivation bill also passed the Senate Wednesday, 20-8 with four senators absent or not voting. It passed the House mid-February 38-32, with four absent or not voting.

A Senate bill aiming to enact the Hemp and Cannibidiol Act, with associated revisions to existing law, passed the House Tuesday 49-20, with six not voting. Designated 2018 SB130, authored by Vickers and co-sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw in the House, the bill had already passed the Senate unanimously Feb. 21.

Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, speaking on the House floor, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 6, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Legislature, St. George News

The Hemp and Cannibidiol Act has two parts to it, Daw said as he addressed the House. The first part deals with regulating CBD oils sold in stores. It acknowledges that CBD oil is sold in stores in Utah, he said, but it’s not being regulated by anyone.

“This bill says we will regulate CBD oil. It doesn’t mean we’ll take it off the shelf,” he said.

If the bill passes muster with the governor, businesses selling CBD oils will need to register with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food so the CBD oil they sell can be tested. Some oils aren’t what they claim to be and have led to instances of illness in the state, according to the Utah Poison Control Center.

The second part of the bill seeks a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow Utah to allow doctors to recommend hemp-based CBD oils for patients that the state would supply through pharmacies. Implementation of this second part is contingent on the DEA waiver, Daw said.

The hemp and CBD oil bill passed the House 49-20 vote with six representatives absent.

How Southern Utah legislators voted:

The medical cannabis policy bill, which passed 19-3 in the Senate and 40-26 in the House, saw the following votes from Southern Utah’s legislators:

  • For: Sens. Vickers and Don Ipson and Reps. Brad Last, Michael Noel and V. Lowry Snow.
  • Against: Reps. Merrill Nelson and John Westwood.
  • Absent or not voting: Sens. David Hinkins and Ralph Okerlund and Rep. Walt Brooks. (Hinkins had voted for the bill on second reading, prior to final vote.) House District 62 was not represented in light of  Jon Stanard’s resignation.

The cannabis cultivation bill, which passed 20-8 in the Senate and 38-32 in the House, saw the following votes from Southern Utah’s legislators:

  • For: Sens. Vickers, Ipson and Hinkins and Reps. Brooks, Noel, Last and Snow.
  • Against: Reps. Nelson and Westwood.
  • Absent or not voting: Sen. Okerlund. House District 62 was not represented in light of Stanard’s resignation.

The hemp and CBD oil bill, which passed 49-20 in the House and unanimously in the Senate, saw the following votes from Southern Utah’s legislators:

  • For: Reps. Brooks, Noel and Snow and Sens. Vickers, Ipson, Hinkins and Okerlund.
  • Against: Reps. Nelson, Travis Seegmiller (who took former Rep. Stanard’s District 62 seat) and Westwood.
  • Absent or not voting: Rep. Last.


Read the bills

Contact legislators

Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2018 issues

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • utahdiablo March 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Utah is already bordered by states where you can by marijuana legally….if you need it go there and buy as much as your heart desires and bring it back to your home

  • Diana March 14, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Good thing is that this is just step one. Step two is hopefully Veterans, police officers and firefighters who were diagnosed with PTSD while on the line of duty. Then, step three is having the same law as Colorado and Nevada.

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