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Although no position has been taken on two proposed bills, the groundwork has been laid for a potential medical marijuana program in Utah. A government committee was given their first look as two differing medical marijuana proposals from three different senators.

Sen. Mark Madsen, who also filed a legalization bill last legislative session, as well as Sen. Evan Vickers and Rep. Brad Daw, shared their ideas for the first time with the overseeing committee.

Madsen shared the plan for a bill which would legalize cannabis medication containing both CBD and THC, which they estimated could help approximately 100,000 Utah residents. The program that Daw and Vickers proposed would enable 2,000 to 5,000 Utah residents to purchase and legally use medications with just CBD. Daw pushed for his proposal by saying,

“Let’s not take a step we’re going to regret later on,”

The bill, which would make those with conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Crohn’s disease eligible for a license to purchase and use medical marijuana, would also allow those veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the chance to use cannabis. Peter Haglin, a paratrooper during the war in Iraq, is one of the many veterans who are fighting for the right to use cannabis in hopes of improving their negative symptoms caused by PTSD,

“We knew what we were getting into and we were good with it,” Haglin told the Health and Human Services Interim Committee. “But none of us knew what it was going to be like to live our lives after the dust had settled on our military careers.”

The proposal from Madsen would not allow primary physicians to write prescriptions for cannabis, but would rather require a specialists recommendation. Madsen also said that the framework in his bill will use the Department of Agriculture for licensing and regulating growers, processing plants and independent lab testing.

The bill proposed by Daw and Vickers would require patients to get recommendations from doctors, which would enable patients to access and purchase medication at privately owned dispensaries. There would be a limited number of dispensaries throughout Utah and no doctor could give out more than 100 recommendations.

After listening to both proposals, the committee will have a chance to take a side in the debate in November.

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