While Utah struggles with plan to deliver medical marijuana, CBD products may offer some relief

FEATURE — With just over seven months left until Utah’s medical marijuana program begins implementation, state officials are being prompted to evaluate and re-tool a plan for distribution that county attorneys say violates federal law and needs to be changed.

Stock image, St. George News

Medical marijuana was legalized in Utah during last November’s election, when 52% of voters approved Proposition 2, but within a month, the state Legislature adopted the compromise  HB 3001, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Opponents to the legislation have said the rushed bill had problems from the start.

In the original plan put forth in Proposition 2, medical cannabis would have been distributed through a network of privately owned dispensaries that would have bore the risk of violating federal law. However, HB 3001 provides for a state-controlled system that utilizes only seven private pharmacies, 13 local health departments and a state-run central fill pharmacy to deliver medicine to patients. Distribution is scheduled to begin March 1, 2020.

However, on July 30, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said he advised the Salt Lake Valley Health Department not to comply with state law to be a medical cannabis distribution point and ask staff to participate in something that is illegal – in essence, becoming drug dealers. In the days since, other counties have followed suit and expressed concerns about the plan.

Brendon Gunn, owner of St. George’s Cloud 9 Vapor told St. George News that while the Legislature is figuring out what to do next, there are many legal cannabidiol – or CBD – products available that can provide some relief.

“Some of the benefits of marijuana, as we’re finding out more and more, are actually because of the CBD that’s found in the plant,” Gunn explained, noting that studies have shown CBDs to help with seizures, anxiety, mental cognition, pain and symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, among other things. 

While CBD products do not provide a “high,” Gunn said some studies indicate there are illnesses that require some form of THC, the compound in the cannabis plant that does result in the intoxicating effects.

“There are a lot of people that believe you need what’s called full-spectrum, with a substantial amount of THC,” he said.

But this comes back to the larger picture issue at hand. Desiree Hennessy, the executive director of the Utah Patients Coalition, responded to Gill’s recent announcement by saying there needs to be more private dispensaries allowed to distribute the drug in order for the program to work.

“We believe it’s very important to make sure patients throughout Utah, especially in rural Utah, can access legal medical cannabis. In light of counties’ resisting the central fill concept, we urge the Legislature to provide more private medical cannabis pharmacies to compensate,” Hennessy said.

Full spectrum CBD lotion on sale at Cloud 9 Vapor, date unspecified, Washington, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Since the CBD products that Gunn sells are all currently legal, he doesn’t have a vested interest in this particular issue, but he said he thinks people need to be involved in general and let their voices be heard — whether they’re in favor of medical marijuana or not.

“We want the people to have control of this,” he said.

Gunn suggested people contact their local state representative and get involved.

The Utah Department of Health is now accepting applications for medical cannabis pharmacy licenses. The department said they are also aware of concerns from prosecutors and will work with counties and lawmakers to come up with a workable solution.

If you or someone you know that is suffering and is looking for at least the CBD component, Gunn said he or his staff at Cloud 9 is happy to educate people and find something that works for them. They offer several products, including CBD oils, vapes, CBD for pets, bath bombs and topicals.

“We have lab tests to prove that our products are authentic and you can go to Cloud 9 and get that right now.”

Cloud 9 Vapor Washington is located at 1055 W. Red Cliffs Drive, Suite B. It is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m to 9 p.m and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A second location in Mesquite, Nevada, is located at 114 N. Sandhill Blvd., Unit G.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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Resources

  • Cloud 9 Vapor Washington | Address: 1055 W. Red Cliffs Drive, Suite B, Washington, Utah | Phone: 435-767-1301 | Website.
  • Cloud 9 Vapor Mesquite | Address: 114 N. Sandhill Blvd., Unit G, Mesquite, Nevada | Phone: 702-703-4874 | Facebook.

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