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Home / Articles / News / News Articles /  Utah Medical Marijuana
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Utah Medical Marijuana

Cannabis Canvas: Activist prods Utah lawmakers to support medical marijuana.

By Jesse Fruhwirth
Posted // December 22,2009 -

Though most of Utah’s western neighbors now allow it, Utah’s grass-roots movement to legalize medical marijuana is still, well, just roots.

One activist and medical marijuana user has set out to push the movement forward, e-mailing each of Utah’s legislators in hopes of finding those who might support the cause. She hasn’t found even one supporter, much less a champion.

Each Republican that replied has been negative and one even referred to her e-mail as “spam,” while only one Democrat even bothered to respond.

Gradi Jordan, 42, of Taylorsville, has never been an activist, but medical marijuana is a deeply personal issue that is now prodding her to take political action. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 15, she’s had a lifetime of experience with psychoactive prescription drugs.

“I have been on pretty much every medicine there is for bipolar, from lithium to Seroquel. I’ve also had two years of ECT [electroconvulsive therapy] treatments where they blast your brain with electricity. Nothing helped. The only thing that keeps the moods even and keeps me on even keel is smoking pot or eating pot.”

Following a “break down” and hospitalization about four years ago, she received repeated ECT treatments, and as a side effect forgot how to read and type, skills she has since relearned. Though she had health insurance, another “side effect” of ECT was $250,000 in medical debt, which forced her into bankruptcy. She says marijuana is the only substance she now uses to treat her condition, and she feels, while not perfect, better than ever.

She’s also diabetic, and says marijuana’s ability to stimulate appetite helps her eat bland foods that keep her glucose in check, even if she might prefer something else.

Earlier this year, she helped organize Utah’s first chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, but soon left the group over personality conflicts with other members. Now solo, she began her e-mail campaign in October.

In her e-mail to legislators, Jordan argues that marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, from cancer to multiple sclerosis, more cheaply and safely than conventional treatments. She also asks for their support of reforms.

But the paradigm shift happening in many states—13 now allow medical marijuana, while 17 other states have various marijuana reform bills currently under review, according to NORML—hasn’t hit Utah.

Ogden Police Chief Sen. Jon Greiner, R-Ogden, who referred to Jordan’s e-mail campaign as “spam,” wrote that he would never support medical marijuana until “the FDA gives me evidence that the 454 elements contained within marijuana are all safe.” He also wants evidence that marijuana is not a gateway drug.

Sen. Curt Bramble did not explain his opposition, but wrote, “I understand your passion and respect your opinion,” still, he “work diligently” to defeat any effort to legalize medical marijuana. Sen. Margararet Dayton, R-Orem, replied, “I am ditto w/Senator Bramble [sic].”

Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-West Jordan, wrote, “We [the Republican majority] also would most likely not vote to legalize tobacco in today’s society, were it not already legal.”

The only Democrat to respond was Salt Lake City Rep. Christine Johnson, who referred Jordan to federal representatives. In all, seven out of 29 senators responded, and just two of 75 representatives.

Utah House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, applauds Jordan’s effort, saying “that’s the type of civic engagement we need more of in this country.” He also explained Democrats’ near silence. “Legislators may feel or perceive a risk of coming out publicly on this issue.” Jordan noted in her e-mail—in all capital letters—that the lawmakers’ responses would be posted to her Facebook group, “Legalize Utah.”

Overall, Litvack said his party is willing to discuss medical marijuana legalization, but members need to meet with more interested constituents—privately at first—who can create the need for a real public policy debate.

“I think medical use of marijuana is very worthy of exploring and talking further about. I think a lot of [Democrat lawmakers] don’t understand the issue,” he said. “[But] it really took a very robust, grassroots movement to generate the energy to get it on the ballot [in other states]. I just don’t see that as a presence in Utah.”

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 11,2012 at 05:23

i have had severe anxiety for years along with depression im allergic to all ssri medications. years ago i was injured working construction i have two slipped discs and an si dysfuction where my backbone connects with my hips has a pinched nerve and locks up. i have no insurance. mj is the only thing that has ever helped. although i used to be in law enforcement and i fear getting into trouble so i am in pain constantly. i almost moved out of state just so i could live again. but my family would struggle living somewhere away from the home we love. ive written man reps also and hear nothing but  its a gateway drug one was senator scott jenkins. i know he is close with greiner and strict lds. i get certain sides of the religion but not when i feel i have a good medical need. excuse. i wish  something would be done quickly as my pain makes me onery and is taking a toll on my relationship. i did notice i was ten times more productive with work when i did use. its been  three years and i still searxh for a way to make this happen. please do all you can do to help support  medical use. seems like all states but utah are smart. would a petition get things done? or would it even matter. what are people doing in other states to get this passed?

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 6,2012 at 08:34

I read this for knowledge, spoon reading it I had to comment.  Maby shed more light on the subject of marijuanna use. 19 years ago I found out after delivering my first child all natural I must add not a bit of what I call Dr. Dope in my body I had 38 hours of back labor. So I thought my son broke my back giving birth. I was born with a rair birth defect in my spine that was not noticed by Dr's until I couldn't move 3 months into being a new single mom.  I had to under go spinal reconstructive surgery when my son was 5 months old, I kept my Brest milk threw it all I had a fusion, disk ectomy,my spine reconstructed to adjust to the un natural contoured of my spine. and exactly 11months later had it again to fix the wire they used to straighten my spine in my 1st surgery had broken internally they redone it.  Degenerating bone disease runes in my genes ( mom side) grandma had issues my mom as well my dr. Told me at the age of 20 that I had the spine of a 48year old man who worked on rail road, again I didn't want surgery but coulda ended up paralyzed if I wouldn't of, as a Mater of fact before my 1st surgery I my Dr, advised that I may be in a wheel chair apon waking up even he was uncertain if I would walk after,  after sleepless night of fingering outhow to raise my 5 month old from a chair, I beet the odds but it hasn't been easy as I have gotten older I was to lay down or stand up for  the first 2. 1/2yrs of his life. . . As I stated 11monthtothe day had to get the wire fixed in it the Dr. Dope I was on made me think I wasn't in pain but in reality the pain was still there I had a friend give me pot it's the miracle drug in every aspect of the sense tested against loratab, perkacet, somma's. . my son was a month early had reflux, but ADHD runnes in the genes as well so anyone have a 2 year old to tend to even younger the first surgery he was, not to manny hyper active 2 year olds like to stay still Or in one area. Then finding out he has Autisum.  he only needed 4 hrs steep tops he fixed stero's in diapers.  I could not be a mom drugged on couch or bed on dr. Dope , very little help from anyone his father he don't know to this day but that was all 19 years ago. . Faced great odds him and I did my inobility to get around bring me down yes!! Depression came and gone but the back ache still remains.  And I'm so glad my friend brought me that wonderfully hurb it changed me for the better. I'm addicted to Dr. dope witch I could of been easily. . . Planned my events around my daily dosages of Dr. Dope. . Yah I realised pot worked better actually realized more symptoms I had that thank God I did not have  to another crazy pill for that pot helped me with, depression. , anxiety, depression, Mescalero spasms that I coulda killed someone to take away, and I could interact with my son. Because the Dr. Dope kept me dosed up zombied I call it u couldn't take care of him good like that. . . Well thanks to the Green Bud God put in the earth even when my son was expelled from ever going back to school in 2 nd grade, the Dr. s said he wouldn't be able to function in a normal school setting he graduated 2011. .  No I hate Dr. Dope it almost took me out of my sons life for ever. I wouldn't of been able to tend to him regularly if pot wasn't smoked instead of taking pills. . . Now I'm older my sine construction cording to my last MRI my spine is that of a 80year old man who worked on rail road. . Well pot MEDICAL MARIJUANNA!! They call it was a life savor I have done illegally in this state of Utah also known as hell and not a fun place to have a lay over in country and rap songs!! Every state around us it's ok to use marry Jane for medical use but here you may end up shot down its a crying shame that I probley won't live to see the day when I don't have to do a illegal act to get the medication I need to get around and function normaly inside my skin because these Mormons are to afraid of the unknown what makes it a gateway drug so to speek is its illegal there fore when I go get it I have to deal with tweekers to get my meds I see them use needles haroin I don't like what I see but I like my product I'm not hungover like alcohol makes you sick like the dr. Dope makes you throw up I interact with my family but I'm not doing other drugs never have gateway drug my ass that's a cop out as far as all the other 48 ingreadience in it I bet those head honchos who are against pot and it's what it realy can be used for is up all night reading the ingreadience in there AMBION they take each night for sleep!!  Get off your high horse God lovers you say u are use his natural ingreadience that's why God put it on this earth,. . Open your minds people it's a decade of new beginnings. . Every damn stonch MORMON out there is always concerned with what others do gotta keep up with the Jones and fit in. . Well LEGALIZE MARIJUANNA NOW!! It's what all our surrounding states are doing  so keep up with them. .  You don't quite understand it understandable but realise more people would bennifite from it even if you stick up your nose on it are Utah Mormons do closed minded they can't see a good Christian faith behind it?? Your ignorance is insulting to the citisons of Utah your making us all look bad if you don't like it I say don't look, your able to turn a blind eye when your spouse has an affaire, has sex with other woman because that's your sister wife, well turn your head if you see a smoker on the street! But you probley won't and havnt I would emagine Most of the smokers in Utah are completely in the closet because of our states local leaders and the government we will end up feeling like we're doing something wrong to your close mind but that's you not the other Christians who have to reside here with your bible thumping asses!!   

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // February 16,2012 at 17:29

excelleNt reAd, ValeNtiNes Day I fouNd myself iN tHe Salt Lake City Justice CouRt fightiNg for my rights to liVe for a siMilaR cause

Not giViNg up tHe fight

BoRn NoN~SytHetic aM I haVe CeNtRal NeRvous SysteM DiseAse, MotHeR of tWo cub

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 10,2011 at 01:21

I would like comment on the "marijuana is a gateway drug" issue. First of all, that is not true! I there are any gateway drugs it starts with alchohol and tabacco! As a kid growing up in a very deddicated LDS family I never thought I would have drug addiction problems! I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at the age of 14. My father has multiple mental and psychialogical illnesses(manic depression,bipolar,pscytsophrinia,multiple personality disorder,etc.)I love my dad very much and would do anything for him! He has been through more treatment and hundreds of diffrent medications which only seem to make him sleepy and crave fatty foods so he deals with obesety! and that is not what he wants! I feel that Marijuana would be much more effective than these "crazy pills" (what he calls them) I have been raised by whom I consider the best parents in the world. I have good morals and a loving personality, thanx to them! Like I said before I deal with some mental issues of my own and addiction is truly one of the hardest to overcome! I spent 14 days in the I.C.U at McKay Dee Hospital due to alchohol endused pancreatitis! I came closer to death than I ever thought I would at the age of 27! I did not have insurence so my hospital bill was about $85,000 in which I am still trying to pay! I have not had a drink for 17 months. The use of marijuana has helped with the strong cravings to drink alchohol, and the head doctor of the I.C.U said that if I were to keep drinkng I would soon die! I had an alchohol problem that I thought I could control! I would drink a fifth of whiskey every other night! So I end with saying who ever says that marijuana is the gateway drug, well they can stick their head where the sun don't shine!!!

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // April 7,2011 at 13:11 Is it illegal to telemarket medical marjuana in utah for california

 

 
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