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Health Group Undermines Future Use Of Medical Marijuana In Utah

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

The largest advocacy group representing medical professionals in Utah is launching a crusade against medical marijuana, arguing there is no evidence it has medicinal value.

The Utah Medical Association is lobbying lawmakers in the state to reject any classification of marijuana as “medical” in future laws, claiming there is little scientific research backing up the label. Legislators in Utah came close to approving the use of marijuana extracts for treatment of certain debilitating conditions. Media outlets in the state are now endorsing the statement from the UMA and urge lawmakers to rely on research, not “subjective” testimony from people using marijuana for their conditions, reports Deseret News.

These healthcare professionals and their supporters fear giving the medicinal label to marijuana could pave the way for the use of other questionable, unapproved medical remedies.

“It is far more compassionate to encourage sufferers to seek real, scientifically backed solutions to their ailments than to approve the use of a drug whose full effects are unknown,” writes the Deseret News editorial board. “Utah lawmakers should keep the focus on research. Nothing should be classified by law as medicine without the research necessary to demonstrate its benefits and provide proper dosages as a guide for attending physicians.”

The writers admit this is a tough task for proponents of medical marijuana legalization. Marijuana researchers blame the federal government for tying their hands with an outdated classification. The DEA still labels marijuana a Schedule I drug, leaving it in the same category as heroin — a status designation which makes obtaining federally approved and funded research near impossible.

Parents trying to treat severe epilepsy conditions in their child with marijuana after all approved medication failed face roadblocks because of the Schedule I designation and find themselves forced to break the law. Such cases usually involve the illegal transporting of CBD oil, a cannabis extract without the psychoactive effects of THC, across state lines just to treat their child. (RELATED: Thousands Flock To Weed Rally To Score Free Pot And Smoke Up)

“When all opiates don’t work, and my daughter is still seizing, and I have a choice between life or death, I’m going to use the cannabis,” Don Lee Carty, a CBD treatment advocate, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “She’s 91 percent seizure free today, and that’s 10 months. Medicating with CBD, my daughter has confidence now. Children are living because of this, families are getting their lives back together because of cannabis.”

The editorial goes on to say that the speed of legalization in states across the country is “disturbing.” Medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and Washington, D.C., where it is also legal for recreational use. Voters in Maine, Nevada, California and Massachusetts all approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use on Election Day.

It is unclear if the Utah legislature will consider efforts to partially legalize marijuana in their current session. Medical professionals in the state agree the federal government must dispense with the Schedule I classification to give way to in-depth research on the substance.

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