'Cannabis Bill' faces challenges on the way to House floor

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH)- What’s being called the “Cannabis Bill” makes another step to becoming law in Utah. House Bill 105 would make hemp extract or cannabis oil available to people with neurological disorders like epilepsy. This bill passed out of a House Committee Friday by an 8-2 vote.

This is a big step for the group “Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy” who have been pushing for this legislation. But some lawmakers raised concerns about the bill and presented hurdles the supporters will have to climb to get this bill voted into law.

“My child has between five and 20 seizures a day and those are convulsive seizures,” said parent Jennifer May.

Much like Jennifer May’s son, another child named Charlotte Figi also suffers from Dravet Syndrome. Charlotte used to have seizures and developmental issues. But with the use of hemp oil, she can now walk, talk, and feed herself. It’s the same substance May is fighting to get legalized in Utah.

“There are a lot of perspectives, there is a lot of misinformation that we're trying to set straight so that people know where we stand,” said May.

One misconception: You can’t get high off this hemp extract.

“It's an oil base. Point-three-percent or less in THC, like Hemp seeds, Hemp lotion, Hemp oil,” said Rep. Gage Froerer.

Representative Gage Froerer and May spoke in front of lawmakers who have their share of concerns about House Bill 105. For one, some argue the bill is too broad and includes anyone with a neurological disorder, not just epilepsy or Dravet Syndrome.

“That does leave out MS, Parkinson, autism and other disorders that could benefit from the extract,” said May.

But it’s a sacrifice they’re willing to make to get the bill passed.

“I plan on working with those people who had some concerns about our substitute bill today (Friday) with narrowing this down or making this more specific,” said Froerer.

But Representative Froerer wants to have the bill on the house calendar by early next week. He wants to have it passed out of the House and on its way to the Senate in two weeks time.

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