The Mormon Church & Medical Marijuana, Why do I live in Utah again?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I wasn't planning on getting involved in changing the cannabis laws here in  Utah.  I'd hoped I could quietly sit back, keep doing what I'm doing with Paloma, and hopefully everything would work out. I dreamed of moving to the Pacific Northwest or New Mexico, places I wouldn't have to be a criminal to help my child. As I write this we still might be moving. Everything is up in the air.  Utah is not my home. Other than buying our first house here, a few friends and church, I feel no allegiance towards Utah.

I still find the place sort of weird and repressed and I can't imagine living here forever. But, I do like the life we have started creating here. My kids like their schools and we can afford to live within our means. Life feels abundant in many ways.

When we moved here a year ago there was an over hyped, useless new law that allowed CBD only for kids with severe epilepsy. The law provided no access to getting oil.  We were forced to break the law to get it, all the while expected to pay $200 fee.  We chose to try Charlotte's Web before they began shipping it.  We tried it for a year.  I said all along it was helping cognitively. It was as if a light was switched on behind Paloma's eyes for the first time since she started phenobarbital, which turned her into a zombie.  Unfortunately, it didn't seem to touch the seizures. We were still on a first name basis with our local paramedics and she was still having to get high doses of rescue medications at least once a month.  After the last bad seizure when she was so doped up she couldn't walk for days I knew we had to do something else.  I was willing to do anything to help my child.

I'd been following the cannabis debacle since last year when a decent bill was introduced and shot down. The senator who wrote the bill came back this year with an improved version. He'd listened to many of the concerns and tried to address them in a way that would please everyone.  Fast forward to this session and there are two cannabis bills being debated. One started by the Senator who presented last year, would allow for CBD and THC. The qualifications for being a dispensary are pretty strict but again he had to appease everyone. It's not a perfect bill but it would help us. I call it the good bill.

 We know now Paloma needs the whole plant oils, as do many other Dravet kids.  I want to reiterate here cannabis oil is not a cure by any means.  It makes her quality of life better. It means we might not have to give rescue meds as often, less hospitalizations, less near deaths. I don't know what her future holds but I know cannabis will need to be in the equation.  Back to the bills. So another Senator decided to put in a bill containing only CBD. It's not much better than the sorry CBD only law we currently have. I call it the shit bill.  I wouldn't have such a problem with this bill if it weren't written by someone who owns several pharmacies in the state. And it was clearly put in the same time as the good bill to undermine it. I've heard it several times from senators, they are leaning towards this "cautious" bill.  What this really means is they want the opportunity to think they have done the right thing. They want to photo ops and pat on the backs.  But, patients aren't lobbying for this bill. Patients want the bill that will save them and ease their suffering.

I decided to speak up when the Mormon church spoke out against the good bill.  They said they feared "unintended consequences." Yet, surprise, surprise they had nothing against the piece of shit bill.  It's strange and scary what a hold they have on legal matters in this state.

 Many of the senators are Mormon and they fear going against its power.

I listened to the senators argue yesterday.  One senator scolded any badmouthing of opiates, saying he loves opiates, they're a God send.  Meanwhile, Utah has a huge prescription pain pill problem.  One of the highest in the nation. The saint of a senator who wrote the good bill said families are tired of living in the shadows, afraid of getting caught while trying to save their loved ones lives.

I've learned a lot lately about how laws are created, something I should have learned in high school government class but ironically I think I was always too stoned to pay attention.

The bill passed through the second round yesterday and will be read through again tomorrow.  If it fails there is already a plan in place to try for a ballot initiative. The word on the street is this has scared the shit out of the Mormon church and hence why they let the bill pass yesterday.

I don't know what will happen.  Will we move?  Will we stay and fight?  All I know is it is heartbreaking to look into someones eyes who is supposed to represent you and tell them your story, tell them how the oil is helping your child not die and all they can say is they are worried about people driving impaired and then they vote no. I'm talking to you Senator Ann Millner.  Your preconceived judgments about the "evil weed" will not cost my child her life.  I will do whatever it takes to save her whether you pass this bill or not.


  1. It's absurd that families have to fight this hard for their children. That WE have to fight this hard to EDUCATE the ignorant. I am so sorry, Lindsay. You've written such an important thing here -- I'm going to share it.

  2. I'm so sorry, Lindsay. Knowing how very slowly laws are implemented especially where marijuana in concerned, the best option is probably to move. How freaking sad and pathetic. I hope the Saint Senator and good bill can somehow prevail! I'm glad Elizabeth shared.

  3. Is there anything that people who love you and your family but do not live in utah can do to help? petition? letter? let me know what could help!