Utah representative sponsors bill to tweak Utah Medical Cannabis Act

Composite image featuring the Utah State Capitol building, date unspecified, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A lawmaker who supported the recently passed Utah Medical Cannabis Act, the replacement for Proposition 2, said she felt like it would accomplish what most voters wanted by providing access to medical cannabis, but knew there would have to be some adjustments to the act.

A laboratory manager holds a cannabis sample in Oakland, Calif., June 21, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Jeff Chiu, St. George News

The Medical Cannabis Modifications bill, or HB 106, is being sponsored by Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, with the hope of making a tweak to the groundbreaking legislation she feels is very important.

Read more: Legislature rejiggers Proposition 2, the medical cannabis initiative passed by voters

Jenkins told St. George News the original version of Proposition 2 included autoimmune disorders in its list of qualifying conditions, but unfortunately it was left out of the new act and her new bill is hoping reinstate it.

“Patients who suffer pain lasting longer than two weeks do qualify to be prescribed cannabis, and so patients who have pain caused by autoimmune disorders will be covered,” Judkins said. “However, one of the things I like about the act is that it is like a big study – albeit flawed.”

The act requires that a new database be created so physicians and medical providers can stay informed about how medical cannabis is working for different diagnoses and what are the most effective doses for each ailment.

Autoimmune disease affects about 8 percent of the population, of which 78 percent are women, and includes various types of arthritis and lupus among other conditions. While these patients can be prescribed medical cannabis on the current qualifying condition for pain, the more specific the database can be, the better the data.

“It would be great if a doctor who is treating someone for rheumatoid arthritis could look at the database and see if medical cannabis seemed to be an effective treatment for that specific condition and if so, at what dosage and delivery,” Judkins said. “That would give a better starting point for treatment than only being able to see what might be effective for the general diagnosis of pain.”

Judkins said the Utah Medical Association has some concerns over the bill and she has met with them to discuss their possible opposition. She also understands that some leaders in the Legislature might not be on board with making any changes to the act so soon after passing and she is not sure how it will all play out during this legislative session.

“There are a few more things I would like to add to this bill, but I don’t want to push my luck.”

Read more: See all St. George News reports and opinions on Utah Legislature 2019 issues

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Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @andrewjpinckney

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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