SALT LAKE CITY — Supporters of marijuana oil extract urged state lawmakers to get moving on approving the drug to treat epileptic seizures.
They say the oil works wonders with few side effects. The president of the Epilepsy Association of Utah urged a legislative panel Wednesday to approve resources to research its benefits and risks.
But Alpine Rep. Michael Kennedy called the assertions premature.
"Unfortunately, there had been various medicines that had been let out on the market, but after close scrutiny had been taken back from the market because they were damaging people or even killing them," he said.
Kennedy and other lawmakers want more lab and legal research, but so do the supporters. They don't want to run afoul of any federal laws which ban marijuana and its byproducts outright.
Supporters stress that this is not medical marijuana, or a downward spiral toward legalizing it. Marijuana oil is a hemp oil extract that they want the state to research for treatment of seizures. Some Colorado brothers have patented an extract they say nearly eliminates seizures.
Garland Rep. Rhonda Menlove has a son with epilepsy with a tough drug regimen.
"It was very complicated and frustrating when I looked at the serious complications of the medication that he took," she said. "It made me sick every time I administered that medication to him."
Other state lawmakers wonder how marijuana will be grown, harvested and transported to get the oil without running afoul of federal laws. Still, they want to explore the options.
Annette Maughan's son would benefit from this extract, but she does not want to be criminalized for importing it from Colorado.
Some on the panel wondered about the legal ramifications and other dangers with the oil. A bill will go before January's legislative session.