The Utah State Legislature has been working to fix the original highly flawed medical cannabis legislation since its inception in 2018. While the cannabis laws have come a long way from where they began, there are still some enormous flaws that end up limiting patient access to only the upper-class and wealthy, due to the medical recommendation card requirement.
Perhaps by taking a much wider examination of Utah and its medical cannabis laws in the context of free-market economic principles and our greater societal problems, members of the Utah State Legislature can gain some greater insight into why greater patient access to medical cannabis could help to solve a lot of greater problems which we are spending millions of tax-payer dollars. Consider the following five points.
1: Last year 112,000 Americans died from overdosing on Fentanyl. Utah Stories has been conducting interviews with our growing homeless population living on the streets. In doing so we have discovered that many of those who are sleeping outside on the streets are in pain and are drug addicts. They tell us they are “self-medicating” using whatever they can get their hands on including fentanyl. Cannabis is much safer than Mexican-Drug cartel manufactured synthetic opioids.
2: After the massive rise in the opioid epidemic which lead to the overdose deaths of at least 50,000 Americans per year for the past ten years, few people want to use opioids such as Vicodin or Oxycodone because they are highly addictive and there are serious side-effects to the overuse or abuse. Far safer than these popular Big-Pharma pain meds is medical cannabis.
3: While marijuana isn’t without its harmful effects if overused, It’s impossible to overdose on cannabis. Patients who use medical cannabis often end up consuming less alcohol and illicit drugs. This is according to the National Library of Medicine. Cannabis also has far fewer harmful side effects than opioids. Why not offer our homeless population greater access to cheap alternatives to opioid drugs or fentanyl? Contrary to popular belief that cannabis is a “gateway drug”, it has been found in scientific studies and data collected that in fact, it is an “exit drug”. Forbes reported that cannabis can be used for “harm reduction.” As it is far less dangerous than other illegal street drugs and even alcohol. Clean, safe, and regulated cannabis could assist more of our Utah homeless population exit their addictions to more harmful drugs so they can lead productive lives again.
4: Helping more of our homeless population gain greater access to cannabis could help to defund the Mexican Drug Cartels, the fentanil trade, and all of the associated crime, murder, and harm they cause to our communities.
5: Cannabis is much safer than every other drug out there to treat chronic pain. Examine the chart (on page 8) from the United States Department of Health’s own chart, mapping out various drugs and their relative safety or harm. Cannabis is far more safe and far less deadly than all other drugs commonly used for pain (both legal and illegal).
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