Salt Lake City – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz outlined policy proposal details Thursday that favor more extensive legalization of cannabis for medical use in Utah.
Weinholtz alludes to state Sen. Mark Madsen’s bill from earlier this year that proposed legalized access to the entirety of the marijuana plant for qualifying patients. The bill was ultimately passed, but not before it was modified to allow only for medical use of refined cannabis medication made with THC, its active ingredient.
Use of the whole marijuana plant "has been found to be more effective (than) plant extract alone," Weinholtz’s detailed proposal states.
The announced position comes two days after Weinholtz held a news conference to discuss the resolution of his wife’s drug case. Donna Weinholtz entered a plea in abeyance Tuesday in Tooele County Justice Court to possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.
She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and given a $3,800 fine. The charges will be dismissed if she completes probation successfully.
Donna Weinholtz said Tuesday she had made the decision to use cannabis to treat her degenerative spinal conditions and arthritis pain. She said spinal surgery was a last option for her and she didn’t want to get involved with addictive opioid painkillers.
Mike Weinholtz first announced his wife was being investigated in April, but declined to elaborate further on her case until she entered her plea.
The details of Weinholtz’s policy proposal include goals to put money into pain management programs that he says would "reduce and prevent opioid abuse." He also proposed working to increase the number of defendants entered into court programs to treat their addictions.
Weinholtz additionally recommended equipping emergency responders with naloxone, a drug that helps "reverse the effects of an opioid overdose," according to a description in the proposal. He says the Cottonwood Heights Police Department was the only agency to issue the drug to its officers as of earlier this year.
In a statement Thursday, Weinholtz painted a strong connection between the availability of medical cannabis and solving the problem of opioid addiction. He also criticized Republican incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert over the issue.
There are sensible solutions to the opioid crisis, but our current governor has simply failed to pursue them, Weinholtz said. Legalizing cannabis is an obvious, reasonable and safe solution to Utahs opioid problem. Gov. Herbert continues to hide behind the hollow excuse that it needs to be researched, but there is already conclusive research on the safety and viability of medical cannabis, including data from the 25 other states that have already successfully legalized medical cannabis. Its time to do the right thing.
Herbert’s campaign manager Marty Carpenter responded to Weinholtz’s announcement in an emailed statement Thursday evening.
"The governor has the greatest sympathy for those who suffer from health issues they feel medical marijuana can alleviate," Carpenter’s statement said in part. "His position has been that the federal government should change the classification of cannabis to allow for thorough scientific study to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks to legalization for medical use. The state has made some adjustments to allow for cannabis oil to be used to treat seizures. The governor believes in taking a cautious and scientific approach to this issue."
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Weinholtz Outlines Policy Proposal For Extending Legalization Of Medical Cannabis
Author: Ben Lockhart
Photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred