The Utah Legislature should consider proposals to allow medical marijuana -- in liquid form -- as a drug to those suffering from ailments.
The Libertas Institute, a libertarian organization, publicized the dilemma facing the May family in Pleasant Grove. Jennifer May's son, 11, suffers from epilepsy. May believes medical marijuana would help her son. The May's story is not unique. Individuals with ailments such as epilepsy, neuropathy, brain defects, etc., are asking lawmakers to allow medical marijuana to be a treatment. In Utah, the Epilepsy Association of Utah supports Jennifer May's request for her son.
We're not naive; we understand that our Utah Legislature, by inclination, is more likely to ban Pepsi than allow marijuana to be used as medicine. However, legislators should not look at a request for medical marijuana as legalizing the drug. We remain strongly opposed to legalizing marijuana, which has occurred in two western states. But using medical marijuana to treat an illness is not the same thing as legally smoking it. One idea for the Legislature is to write a medical marijuana law as a test-case study with a sunset date.
The procedure for a patient's use of medical marijuana in liquid form should be no different than any other narcotic -- or other otherwise illegal drug -- provided legally by a doctor. It should be lawfully prescribed by a doctor, dispensed in a pharmacy to the proper patient. Any abuse of medical marijuana should be prosecuted as vigorously as abuse of a painkiller, such as Percocet, would be prosecuted.
If medical marijuana can ease chronic pain, the Legislature should at least have a serious discussion over its pros and cons. To do otherwise is irresponsible.