Call It What It Is: Why Diction Matters In Cannabis Law

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Utah is now one of 11 states with a “medical marijuana” law which is not all inclusive, but rather exclusive. Utah’s CBD-only law went into effect July 1, 2014, however it is designed to treat one illness/disease with one specific strain of high CBD/low THC cannabis (Charlotte’s Web) and does not provide for any in-state production. The “Hemp Extract” bill registry went live this morning.

Why can Utah NOT understand that this much needed, life saving medicine is CANNABIS and has NOTHING to do with Hemp? When lawmakers and parents from Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy first started working on the bill last year, they would not even allow it to be referred to as hemp. They made up a new word – Alepsia – in an effort (some would say) to not acknowledge the fact that the medicine is one aspect of the cannabis plant.

With the registry now live from the Utah Department of Health, patients, parents or caregivers can apply at this link, for a $400.00 initial application fee, to be placed on a waiting list for one provider, Realm of Caring, in Colorado. It does not guarantee a patient will receive the high CBD oil. It simply reserves them a place on the waiting list. It also does not provide for any in-state production, so anyone who does bring it across state lines is still, technically, a felon.

Along with the $400.00 registration fee, applicants must also submit the “Hemp Extract Registration” form in addition to a “Neurologist’s Written Certification” as well as an “Initial Patient Evaluation Record” and proof of identity or Utah residency and legal guardianship documents (if the patient is a minor or has a legal guardian). All of this information would then be submitted to the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics (attention Hemp Extract Registry) at P.O. Box 141012, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-1012. Questions regarding the program can be sent to or via phone at 801-538-9326.

As this law is exclusive of so many patients in Utah who currently do use or could possibly benefit from all aspects of cannabis, advocate groups such as Utah CARE – Cannabis Awareness, Reform and Education – will continue with their efforts for whole plant reform. The belief is that the entire plant is necessary, not only one of 60 compounds. Combining THC with CBD (and all other compounds) keeps many people in the state alive, legal or not. In this writer’s opinion, the state of Utah is showing it’s true ignorance by insisting cannabis extract be called “Hemp.” Call it what it is, Utah – CANNABIS!


Photo Credit: Hermann Adolf Köhler under public domain via Wikimedia Commons