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Supposed ‘Medical Marijuana’ Measures In Alabama, Utah Are Anything But

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 25, 2014

    At a public signing ceremony today, Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert will approve House Bill 105 — aka “Charlee’s Law.” The law, and others like it, ostensibly allows children with treatment-resistant pediatric epilepsy access to extracts of the marijuana plant high in the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).

    While some media outlets are reporting that the passage of these measures are akin to ‘approving medical marijuana,’ such claims are far from accurate.

    Specifically, Utah’s HB 105 — which takes effect on July 1 — is largely unworkable. As written, the law only exempts from state prosecution those with “intractable epilepsy” who possess a cannabis extract that contains more than 15 percent CBD and no more than 0.3 percent THC. Patients must receive a written recommendation from a Utah board certified neurologist and be registered with the state Department of Health before seeking such extracts, which for the time being may only be procured from outside of the state. The extracts must be produced in a lab that possess a state-license to manufacture such products.

    While this language may appear to allow Utah patients to procure CBD products in neighboring medical cannabis states like Colorado, the likelihood of this scenario is highly doubtful. Colorado’s medical marijuana law only allows those who are state residents and who possess a state-issued patient identification card to legally purchase such products. In other words, Utah parents would have to violate Colorado law to obtain high-CBD extracts (which are likely to only be available from a medical dispensary, not a retail cannabis market). Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries would also be in violation of not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law by providing a product they know is intended to be transported across state lines — a clear violation of the guidelines put forward in the August 2013 Department of Justice memo which call for “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal in some form to other states.”

    Utah’s forthcoming law also calls on the state Department of Agriculture “to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for the purpose of
    agricultural or academic research,” ostensibly for the purpose of one-day producing high-CBD cannabis medicines. However, it remains to be seen whether such industrial crops can yield therapeutically effective CBD extracts or whether federal lawmakers would even allow such a state-sponsored research project to move forward.

    In Alabama, members of the House and Senate unanimously approved CBD-specific legislation, Senate Bill 174 aka “Carley’s Laws,” late last week. Republican Gov. Robert Bently has announced his intent to sign the measure into law.

    However, like the Utah law, Alabama’s forthcoming law will also be largely unworkable for those who seek to benefit from it. The measure appropriates $1 million dollars for University of Alabama-sponsored research in CBD extracts. Whether such research will actually take place is another story. Because CBD is, like the cannabis plant itself, classified under federal law as a schedule I controlled substance, multiple federal agencies — including the FDA, DEA, NIDA (US National Institute of Drug Abuse), and PHS (Public Health Service) must all sign off on any clinical investigation of the drug — a process that typically takes several years and often ends with federal regulators rejecting the protocol outright. Yet, under “Carley’s Law,” patients may only legally access CBD under if it is “prescribed” during the course of such a federally approved clinical trial.

    Nevertheless, despite these obvious limitations in implementation, lawmakers in various other states — including Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Wisconsin — are considering passing similar measures. (A similar Georgia measure died when lawmakers adjourned late last week.) While the passage of these measures may pose symbolic victories for legislators, they fail to provide tangible benefits to the constituents that they are intended to serve.

    28 Responses to “Supposed ‘Medical Marijuana’ Measures In Alabama, Utah Are Anything But”

    1. bobwv says:

      Sounds like proof positive treason and genocide are addictive. They can’t quit.

    2. Justin says:

      This is a really stupid law seeing that its a pointless law. All that law is saying is you can get hemp legally when you already can legally. As long as it has the low levels of thc .03 aka hemp its legal to ship anywhere. I have already found 3 company’s that ship the same stuff anywhere in USA totally legal that is high in cbd and no high from it. Gotta love our tax money going to stupid shit like this when it is all ready legal to do what this law says!

    3. Closet Smoker says:

      Nothing but feel good legislation that the politicians will point out and use in future elections as them being “progressive” and up to date with current issues because they were involved with it. Cannabis friendly my ass, I hope ya’all are taking names…..

    4. Anonymous says:

      They can have five wives and be disgusting, worthless perverts but you can’t smoke bud, ya’ll…

    5. Matthew58 says:

      For Alabama, at least it’s a step in the right direction. I have hope now, for the possible legislation of MMJ, from an ultra conservative, right wing, Christian-based state.

    6. spence says:

      this is horse shit Gov. Herbert was supposed to sign this bill a week sooner if he had this little girl would not have had a seizure and bit her tongue off and died this Government is in my eyes responsible for this little girl and many other deaths all because they wont legalize cannabis that is murderous folks, cant deny that the more people die from not being able to get cannabis the more the Government acting like Nazi criminals for their own power trip legalize all cannabis NOW people are dying and need cannabis to live quit being asses

    7. Mr. Musick says:

      Federal legalization needs to happen; cut through all the red tape. Im not sure if our representatives are really bad at writing laws, or if they are extremely good(at being as useless as possible). Writing laws that wont have any traction; and pretending you are a Rep. for what the people want.
      Quit it.

      Dont piddle around with decriminalizing, legalize.
      Dont take something God put together in all his wisdom and glory, and split it up to what you think is best.

    8. Awakened says:

      Alabama isn’t the worst state, but surely one of the worst about jailing peaceful hemp smokers and propping up the narco-banker-terror-ocracy.

      A friend who lives here, and has discussed moving to WA or CO frequently, keeps insisting “It will NEVER be legal in AL.” This is a stretch for the gov. in such a pro-fake conservatism state, but such a little step is hard to read. It seems as if it may not be intended for such money to be spent; but, the 10th amendment obviates the right of the federal government to have any say on whether research is done here or not; despite the out of control feds. Perhaps he intends to go farther later, or a large number of legislators do; but perhaps it is also just a token effort (no pun intended ;).

    9. Lee Roy Sanders, Junior says:

      Alabama will do anything and spend so much money to not simply Legalize Marijuana *Cannabis Sativa. Such diversions say on one hand Marijuana is helpful but no Marijuana can’t be allowed to be legalized is nothing but the Prohibition of Marijuana in Alabama.

      Cannabis Sativa is the only actual Marijuana and from it only there are high quality chemicals of medical purposes. Quality outweighs quantity. ? Ruderalis and ?Indica are rope hemp and nothing more.

      Governments fear Cannabis Sativa because it contains psyche active chemicals that actually aid in the function of the brain. Governments want weak minds and followers who will repeat exactly what they say and think no other. This is the only reason governments fear the use of Cannabis Sativa!

    10. Lee Roy Sanders, Junior says:

      Alabama will do anything and spend so much money to not simply Legalize Marijuana *Cannabis Sativa. Such diversions say on one hand Marijuana is helpful but no Marijuana can’t be allowed to be legalized is nothing but the Prohibition of Marijuana in Alabama.

      Cannabis Sativa is the only actual Marijuana and from it only there are high quality chemicals of medical purposes. Quality outweighs quantity. ? Ruderalis and ?Indica are rope hemp and nothing more.

      Governments fear Cannabis Sativa because it contains psyche active chemicals that actually aid in the function of the brain. Governments want weak minds and followers who will repeat exactly what they say and think no other. This is the only reason governments fear the use of Cannabis Sativa!

      (PS. I am applaud at propagandist editors who add and take away from someones post. There are no ? marks before the Rope Hemp Latin names Ruderalis and Indica.)

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