My letter to Utah Senators regarding medical marijuana

I’ve been asked to share the email that I’ve been sending to members of the Utah Senate.  The text of that email is below.  A couple of things worth noting:

  • If you want to know who your Senator and Representative are, use this awesome tool. It will pull them up and give you an easy way to email them:
  • I began by writing to my senator. He’s on board to vote YES. In my email to him, I indicated in the first line that I am a constituent of his. This is important, as legislators give priority to correspondence from members of their districts.
  • I’ve also written to other members of the Senate from around the state, even though I am not one of their constituents. It can’t hurt to let them know they are being watched. As the bill moves along, there will be specific Representatives and Senators who we will need to put pressure on. Join my email list; I’ll keep you posted on who they are. Join here:

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Dear Senator _____,
I am writing in regards to SB73, on behalf of my father, who is a survivor of esophageal cancer.  This horrible disease necessitated the removal of his whole esophagus and moving his stomach into his upper chest cavity.  Aside from cancer, he is disabled from a severe motorcycle accident he experienced in Logan Canyon during his 20’s.  The combination of these things have left him with many chronic conditions including loss of appetite and (inability to keep weight on / undernourishment), tongue paralysis, nausea, persistent dizziness, and depression.  His doctor, Dr. Michael Stones in Logan, has searched for an anti-depressant that he can safely chew instead of swallow. Only one drug exists that he can chew. The drugs side effects are dizziness and fatigue, which will only make his other conditions worse.  Even if he were to try to tolerate the side effects, the medication must be taken for 6 weeks before it takes effect.

There are countless documented cases of whole plant cannabis being a safe treatment for nausea, appetite loss, and depression – and the effects are immediate.  My father is 77 years old and probably doesn’t have a lot of years left, particularly if his conditions are not abated.  It would be nice for his last years to be as pleasant as possible. Cannabis is non-toxic and when consumed as an edible, has zero negative physical side effects.   He would be able to safely and easily eat edibles (brownies, cookies, etc).  Medical cannabis is also far less expensive than the drugs that he has to take to treat these problems.

If he doesn’t get these things under control, he will soon be forced to have a feeding tube which would exacerbate many of his other problems. My mother, who takes care of him, has to take work off every time he falls, has a doctor appointment, or other wise needs attention due to his condition. Her missing work creates additional expense for them. They are already very poor and cannot afford this.

Under SB89, my father would not qualify to have medicinal cannabis, nor would the cannabis products proposed by SB89 help him, even if he could have it. He needs the therapeutic benefits of the “entourage effect”, which are the compounded benefits that come only from whole plant cannabis.  SB89 is not good enough and we will not stand for it.

The LDS Church’s opposition to SB73 and acceptance of SB89 needs no introduction at this point. I absolutely support The Church’s right to create it’s own codes of conduct for it’s own members and to enforce then however they want, within the construct of the religion. The Church is endeavoring to influence policy for Utahns that may or may not be a part of their organization. Furthermore – The Church’s opposition to SB73 and non-opposition of SB89 has been made clear: they object to THC in the medicine.   The LDS Church makes no policies regarding the injestion of medications obtained via a doctor’s prescription and pharmacy.  Please consider this:  Marinol is a drug used to reduce nasuea and increase appetite in cancer patients. Marinol is simply man made THC.  At present, if a patient were to be prescribed Marinol, the LDS Church would have no problem with it.  Unless the LDS Church is willing to come out in public opposition to the prescription of Marinol, it would seem that it’s opposition of SB73 is rather dubious.  The bottom line here is the importance of taking cues from your constituents rather than the lobbyists from the LDS Church (or any corporation, for that matter).

Please vote in favor of SB73.   I am also respectfully informing you that I will be watching to see how you vote on this.  I am involved in the media in Salt Lake City, and have a nationally syndicated radio show.  Should you vote against SB73, I (and many other media personnel) will make sure that everyone knows you were one of those that opposed this compassionate measure. Should SB73 be defeated, an army of enraged and highly motivated citizens will organize a ballot initiative for full legalization of cannabis, taking the power of this issue out of the hands of the Legislature. Survey after survey show that a majority of Utahns favor medical cannabis. We WILL win at this stage. Furthermore, we WILL make sure that every Senator and Representative who votes against SB73 will pay for it at the voting booth when it’s time for re-election.  If careful regulation is your concern, voting for SB73 is your only realistic option.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. Thank you in advance for your vote in favor of a compassionate solution to the suffering of my father and thousands of other Utahns.

best regards,
Paul Duane

The Paul Duane Show
Host / Executive Producer
Catalyst Magazine
K-Talk 630 AM
Utah Libertarian Party

801 994 6960

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