Utah Senator Mark Madsen’s 2016 Medical Cannabis Act

Paul Duane (left) with Utah State Senator Mark Madsen (right) discuss the 2016 “Medical Cannabis Act” in Salt Lake City
Paul Duane (left) with Utah State Senator Mark Madsen (right) discuss the 2016 “Medical Cannabis Act” in Salt Lake City

At year’s end, Senator Mark Madsen (Republican – Saratoga Springs) addressed a friendly crowd of supporters to tell them about his most recent effort at bringing non-combustible, medical marijuana to the Beehive State —presently with the unnumbered and yet-to-be introduced Medical Cannabis Act.

During the 2015 legislative session, Madsen stunned some of his colleagues in the Utah Senate by announcing that over the Valentine’s Day weekend he had traveled to Colorado on the advice of his physician and had consumed some “cannabis edibles” to relieve chronic lower back pain. The bill, SB 259 – Medical Cannabis Amendments (and it’s four substitutions), sponsored last year by Madsen, prompted discussions by Utah legislators revealing a wide range of tolerance about the concept. As with the  national discussion, Utah’s debate  emphasized social concerns on opioid side effects and the dangers of addiction with traditional prescription pain medication.

In 2014, Utah authorized the use of cannabinoid oil for patients with epilepsy and similar ailments, causing some conservative lawmakers to worry aloud about the expanded use of medical cannabis. Last session, Senator Allen Christensen (Republican – Ogden) declared on the chamber floor that, “I can’t believe that we are even discussing this in Utah.” This, amidst other concerns that last year’s bill had been “rushed through” the legislative process without enough deliberative consideration and sufficient data. This would ultimately lead to SB 259’s demise.

Madsen’s previous effort failed narrowly on the last day of the 2015 session and he vowed to bring it up again during the 2016 session (which will also be his last as a legislator, since he has declared that he will not seek office again), with additional considerations to make the idea more workable.

“We feel that we have addressed all of [the legislature’s] legitimate concerns,” said Madsen to a group of 50, mostly young, advocates, recorded during the Paul Duane Show (soon to be known as the “Big Top Rebellion”) podcast.

In 2015, the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that would allow federal laws to be relaxed for the sake of “whole plant” derivatives used for treating people “who are suffering,” said Madsen, “…and who cannot wait. Our bill uses the ‘F4 standard,’ found in pharmaceutical code language. We are working in a box that federal law allows us to work in,” he explained.

There is a competing bill that also will be introduced into committee in January, sponsored by Utah House Representative Brad Daw (Republican – Orem) and Senator Evan Vickers (Republican – Cedar City) which some have termed exceedingly limited in scope, and allegedly does not address specific patient issues that Madsen’s bill does. “Their bill exists to derail mine,” said Madsen flatly.

As an active Mormon himself, Madsen – a grandson of former LDS Church President, and US Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, stated, “I hope that the LDS Church doesn’t undermine my bill. I would hate it if the faithful LDS people of Utah were treated any differently than those of 23 other states which now have similar laws… You can be of good faith and realize that you have been propagandized all of your life.” He continues to maintain that his proposal would not create “head shops” or a recreational drug use culture in Utah as many of his opponents claim.

The soon-to-be published bill will allow for cannabis applications in topical (ointment), edible (his first experience was with cannabis gummy bears produced in Colorado) and vapor delivery, “The  [vape] smell is invisible,” says Madsen. Under his new bill, a limited number of family practitioner physicians would be authorized to prescribe medical cannabis, with an unlimited number of specialists (oncologists, orthopedists, psychiatrists, etc.) trained and specifically licensed by the Utah Department of Health —to allow a consumer to also obtain a “safe harbor” card  for personal possession and use. This would be similar to the previously permitted users of cannabis oil (of which there are approximately 500 Utahns).

Under Madsen’s Medical Cannibas Act of 2016, production of the “whole plant” used for Utah’s medicinal applications will be done only intrastate and under the supervising standards and licensure of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Producers would be required to demonstrate a competent business plan and liquid assets of $300,000 or more. Dispensaries also would be privately owned but would have to also show liquid assets of $500,000 and would be limited to one in each county in the state – with more in Salt Lake, Utah and Weber Counties which evidence greater populations.

4 Replies to “Utah Senator Mark Madsen’s 2016 Medical Cannabis Act

  1. I know that the bill senator Madsen is proposing will be probably the best decision to make. I for one will be able to know if I qualify for the prescription cannabis card it would eliminate the need to take most of my meds. I suffer from tourettes, anxiety and I have cerebral palsy along with ADHD. I used cannabis in the past which I discovered that my tourettes symptoms practically were gone within a few minutes and my anxiety wasn’t as bad. I just don’t think taking most of the meds I am on isn’t necessary.

  2. My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer that spread from his brain into the lungs and liver. he became so ill that it tired him out to do the smallest task; to walk across a room would take great effort and all his breath away. I was unable to bear his situation anymore and i begin to ask questions about cancer in my neighborhood and work place, above all i was praying that God should send healing to my husband and take the sorrow away from my family, one faithful evening my neighbor who recently moved to the neighborhood came to me that she heard that i have been asking question about cancer and told me about Jenny Kim hemp oil and how it cured her 9 years breast cancer. She gave me her email (jkimmedicalcentre2@gmail.com). It was a great joy that day and he’s my husband life saving angel, i ordered the oil and i received it that week and followed his instructions and gave my husband the hemp oil. To God be the glory my husband is totally cancer free and he is healthy and strong now, after which he reported that he could breath well, was not experiencing any pains and felt the good cells in his body. four days later our family doctor, Benson, reported there were no signs of him having any trouble breathing or problems with physical tasks and cancer; Thank you lord, my husband is much alive with the help of God’s servant Jenny. my husband is now able to breathe fully and deeply. His doctor reportedly says his liver is cancer free. That he does not seems to have a small amount of cancer in his liver and lungs again. The doctor is amazed at the effectiveness of the hemp oil. my husband and I believe the major changes in his body. Of course we do not deny the important role of dieting . my husband story is an ideal example of how hemp oil healing miracles often have in the body.) We Thank Jenny Kim for his miraculous hemp oil treatment. contact her with (jkimmedicalcentre2@gmail.com)

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