Revised August 25, 2018

As a therapist who provided substance abuse treatment to Court referred clients at New Horizons in Ogden and group counseling to parolees coming out of our state prisons through the Adult Probation and Parole office in Salt Lake City as a Clinical Consultants contractor, I worked with individuals with serious drug dependency issues for years.  More and more the evidence in regards to substance abuse appears to be related to the mental health problem of addictive behavior in general.  Whether the problem is over-eating or under-eating, over-exercising, excessive consumption of coffee, diet sodas or beers, shoplifting, fire setting, cutting, smoking tobacco or over-indulgence of prescription or illegal drugs, the real focus of therapy is on a person's mental and emotional state of mind.  As for the medical benefits of marijuana itself, there appears to be some evidence indicating that medical marijuana can alleviate severe physical pain in some people where other remedies do not appear to work.  There are some known side effects such as increased lack of motivation and short-term memory loss.  As with any substance put into our bodies, there can be both beneficial and adverse effects.  Making marijuana available to Utah residents in need of medically prescribed purposes would address the immense suffering that some Utahns are experiencing that make their life insufferable.  

I have reviewed the current Utah Proposition Number 2 that would create a medical marijuana law.   It is a carefully written document that follows a legal statutory format and has incorporated a number of legal provisions to safeguard against abuse of its provisions by people who would use it for recreational purposes.  As a starting point for the actual use of marijuana for medical reasons by deserving people in Utah, it lays out a solid foundation. This Proposition, if passed by voters this November as law, can be easily amended and perfected by the State Legislature in its 2019 session so that it can go into effect by a least July 1, 2019 (though that actual dispensing of medical marijuana would not likely occur until around March 1, 2020).  As a former government official versed in the review of federal and state government regulations, I have the needed experience to help in assuring that this law will provide the most benefit to those Utahns suffering needless physical pain while at the same time protecting against abuse by profiteers and drug abusers so that this law will not create and add to our State's current drug problem.   I would seek out various stakeholders both for and against medical marijuana use to be sure that their legitimate concerns are addressed.   There is no reason for Utahns experiencing insufferable physical pain to have to wait any longer for relief.

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