The first CBD-only medical cannabis legislation went into effect in Utah on July 8 as the state began issuing the first “Hemp Extracts Registry” cards.
Utah’s HB 105, which was signed into law by Governor Herbert in March, exempts possession of hemp extracts that are greater than 15 percent cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for qualifying patients.
To qualify, patients must be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and have the signed consent of a physician and a neurologist. Intractable epilepsy, which is defined as epilepsy so severe pharmaceutical treatments are unable to control the extreme seizures, affects about one-third of the population. In Utah, only about 8,000 people across the state potentially qualify to try to treatment.
The application costs $400 a year to file and exempts possession in the state of Utah of hemp extracts. The cost represents the cost of implementation of the registry to the state. Each batch of high-CBD oil must be lab-tested and the results must be filed with the state department of health which only has a single office in Salt Lake City. Patients must carry their registry card and lab results with their medicine at all times.
The bill manipulates the legal definition of hemp and treats the oil as a nutritional supplement, although such extracts do come from cannabis flowers (marijuana buds) and CBD is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance as defined by federal law. The bill provides no mechanism for local production or distribution so patients seeking to obtain the medicine they can legally possess in the state must obtain it illegally.
“We are going to mail it, that is how we are going to get it into Utah,” said Heather Jackson, Executive Director of the Realm of Caring Foundation, addressing the Utah Epilepsy Association’s Get Seizure Smart Conference.
Realm of Caring (ROC) grows Charlotte’s Web, the marijuana strain that specifically fits the requirements of Utah’s and a handful of other state’s CBD-only laws which passed earlier this year. They plan to ship Alepsia, an infused cannabis oil made from the strain, from Colorado into Utah, although they don’t plan to have the oil available until September.
Annette Maughan, of Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy, one of the “Mormon Moms” advocating HB 105 in the legislature, was issued the state’s second registry card yesterday, the day the department of health started taking applications.
“This is the single biggest day in [my son’s] life,” Maughan told the Salt Lake Tribune “My hope is that he’ll just play hide and seek with his [siblings], get back to enjoying what he was like when he was three.”
Maughan’s son Glenn, who is now 11-years-old, began having seizures at the age of 3. Now Maughan will wait to receive the oil from Realm of Caring.
While Utah’s law was the first to go into effect, Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri and New York will soon see the implementation of similar laws.
What do you think of Utah’s new law? Is CBD-only medical cannabis enough?