2018 Bills

HB 195: Medical Cannabis on One’s Death Bed

This bill passed the House with a vote of 40-26 and passed the Senate with a vote of 19-3.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

After several years of legislative inaction, Utah voters are likely to have a chance to vote on a comprehensive medical cannabis program providing thousands of sick and suffering Utahns an opportunity to be shielded from legal punishment for utilizing a plant that may help them heal.

Enter Representative Brad Daw and Senator Evan Vickers with House Bill 195, a “right to try” bill for terminal patients. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. This legislation would turn physicians into pharmacists by having them dispense state-grown cannabis to be delivered to patients in a one-month supply.

A “state-approved grower and processor” would be authorized to be the sole source of cannabis, setting up a monopoly not unlike a previous cannabis bill they sponsored, which would have established a monopoly for payment processing of cannabis sales (see line 836).

Under the bill, patients would be given a one month supply at a time by their physician. In the event of the terminal patient’s death, the cannabis would have to be returned to the physician to be destroyed. A physician could provide cannabis to no more than 15 of his or her patients.

The reality is, this bill concept is five years too late. In the absence of any other effort or legislation, this bill could be improved and potentially supported. Polls show consistent voter support for comprehensive medical cannabis reform in the mid 70 percentile, and the initiative campaign will likely have all its needed signatures by mid February.

Voters will soon have a very real chance to enact a broader program — and because “medical cannabis policy” should not merely be for those whose lives are about to end, we must therefore oppose this effort.