UTAH: State lawmakers are moving ahead with legislative efforts to allow for the limited use of medical ‘cannabis’ while simultaneously forbidding anyone from either inhaling the herb or possessing its flowers
Many medical marijuana advocates cheered the news this week that members of the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval to legislation to permit the use of medical cannabis preparations for qualified patients. No doubt the vote marked a significant change in attitude for lawmakers in the heavily Mormon state. But while the vote marked a ‘first’ for Utah, lawmakers’ decision to prohibit patients from legally possessing, inhaling, or vaporizing actual cannabis is part of a growing, and problematic, national trend.
While no state legislature has approved a law permitting medi-pot patients to grow their own medicine since New Jersey lawmakers banned the practice in 2012, few if any politicians sought to altogether prohibit patients from accessing cannabis flowers (where the majority of pot’s therapeutically active constituents are located) until Minnesota lawmakers addressed the issue last year. In a legislative compromise to appease the state’s Governor, House and Senate lawmakers agreed to amended legislation that, for the first time, mandated patients only be permitted to possess cannabis in non-smoked preparations such as pills or extracted oils (the latter of which could arguably still be vaporized). One month later, New York lawmakers enacted similar legislation restricting the dispensing of medical cannabis only to non-smokeable formulations. And so the trend began.