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Froerer acknowledges there’s no information about what the long-term effects of the drug might be, but said there are so few options for those with the disease that another treatment should be available.

“If we continue down the same path, and we only give these parents the option to use existing drugs, they have a very short lifespan. Most of these kids will only live to be 18 or 21,” he said. “If we can give them a day, a week or a month of a higher quality of life, then I feel that the state of Utah owes these parents that opportunity to seek this out.”

Jennifer May of Pleasant Grove, whose 11-year-old son can suffer hundreds of seizures a day, has helped lead the push to change Utah law.

“We believe that every treatment option should be available to every child,” May told lawmakers.

May said she and other parents don’t want to break the law and don’t want to move to Colorado because they want their doctors to be able to track progress with the extract.

While Froerer’s bill clears the way in Utah law for the product to be brought in the state, lawmakers noted it would still technically be a violation of federal law, though officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are unlikely to enforce it in these situations.

“They know very well that this may not protect them from the DEA if the federal prosecutors stepped in,” Froerer said.

Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, framed it as another state’s rights issue, something his fellow Republicans reference in regard to marriage laws and public lands, among other issues.

“If we as a state decide this is in the best interest of our citizens,” Vickers said, “We should have the right to let our citizens do it.”

The extract contains less than half a percent of THC, the hallucinogenic chemical found in marijuana.

Utah’s Republican-led legislature has traditionally been opposed to efforts to decriminalize marijuana, and lawmakers Thursday were careful to note that they’re still opposed to that and allowing further use of medical marijuana in the state.



HB 105: