Andrew Selsky, AP
This Sept. 30, 2016 file photo shows a marijuana bud before harvesting at a rural area near Corvallis, Ore.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was right when he said that the Medical Cannabis Initiative has significant flaws. He said, “It lacks important safeguards regarding its production and utilization and would potentially open the door to recreational use.”

Herbert said he would actively oppose the initiative.

In a recent Utah Policy Daily poll, the question was asked, “Do you support or oppose legalizing doctor-prescribed use of non-smoking medical marijuana for certain diseases and pain relief?” Based on this deceptive question, Utah Policy reported that Utahns' overwhelming support doctor-prescribed medical marijuana, thus concluding that they supported the 28-page proposed initiative to legalize medical marijuana by a vote of the people. Had the poll question stated that the initiative did not include doctor-prescribed marijuana, the poll results would have likely been dramatically different. Most of us support doctor-prescribed medicine, but that is not what is in this initiative.

Doctors, or any medical providers such as psychiatrists, physician assistants or nurses may give the patients a "permission slip" to get a card from the state that allows them to buy whole plant marijuana from a dispensary for themselves or their children. There is not a prescription required in this law. The doctor is not legally permitted to determine amounts, types, ratio of CBD to THC (the psychotropic drug that is part of the marijuana plant) or any other control on what the patient will actually receive at the marijuana dispensary. Components of the marijuana plant may have medical properties, but that is not the same as medicine. Medicine is made when a laboratory extracts the medicinal compound and then standardizes it and doses it. The employees at the dispensary are not pharmacists.

The law does not require that the patient be under a doctor’s care while using marijuana. There is not even a requirement that doctors or the employees at the dispensary warn the patient about any potential side effects or dangers from using marijuana. And, unlike any other medical treatment, doctors are specifically absolved from any liability should the treatment be harmful to the patient. In fact, those people pushing medical marijuana claim there are not any side effects and that it is completely safe for adults and children. They use anecdotal stories as their proof that it is safe and ignore the stories about those people whose lives have been ruined by the use of marijuana.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, likely side effects of marijuana use are decreased memory and learning abilities, decreased motivation in areas such as study, work and concentration, mental health problems, loss of coordination, anxiety and paranoia. Other studies show that 1 in 11 people who use marijuana get addicted.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated, “marijuana addiction goes up to about 17 percent in those who start using at a young age, and 25 to 50 percent among daily users.” (Those using medical marijuana can be daily users, including children.) Studies show that marijuana use changes the structure of the teenage brain, specifically with memory and problem-solving.

16 comments on this story

It is interesting to me that if you buy a bottle of aspirin, there are two sets of printed instructions and a warning of multiple dangers when taking that aspirin. When you get a prescription, there is such a long list of life-threatening warnings you are not sure if you will live to take a second pill, and yet marijuana is treated as if you are just purchasing a bag M&Ms.

This is dishonest polling and reporting. Utah voters are being misled by these reports and could cast their vote based on false information