Utah lawmakers are hoping to find a way to adjust federal law to allow for Utah’s institutions of higher education to research the health and economic aspects of cannabis or hemp products.
Republican representative Gage Froerer told members of the health and human services committee this week that he is working with Utah’s Congressional delegation to encourage a change in Federal Drug Administration policy that would allow researchers to move forward in determining the possible agricultural, medical, and economic uses of hemp and cannabis products.
“It’s very important that we head down the research path,” Froerer said. “We need to know exactly what this does and how it effects patients and impacts individual diseases. We also need to look at the agricultural and production side and the economic benefits.”
“Being able to go into a lab and pull the substance apart and test each little component, understand it, synthesize it, reconfigure it, modify it and put it into a pill,”. Meanwhile, let’s not deny these patients the benefit we know that science shows us that they get because science hasn’t caught up and science doesn’t understand perfectly why the FDA hasn’t caught up,” he said. “Do we wait for that research or do we go ahead?
In March 2015 Froerer was successful in passing what is referred to as “Charlee’s Law”, or HB 150, which allows for some epilepsy patients in Utah to access hemp extract oil to treat the disorder. Since then at least ten other states have passed similar laws. Still, many of his constituents continue to express interest in being able to use related products to treat other illnesses.
During the 2016 Utah Legislative Session Froerer is hoping to convince Utah lawmakers to allow for as many as 5,000 people to have access to cannabis extract oil for a variety of medical conditions, based on current research, while he continues to work on ways to convince federal regulators to make changes that would allow for the University and Utah and Utah State University to conduct research in the near future.