President of Utah Orthopedic Association speaks up for medical marijuana

FILE - In this June 17, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone,File)

After hearing numerous arguments on both sides of the issue, a panel of Utah lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill that would allow tens of thousands of residents with chronic or debilitating conditions to consume edible marijuana products but the bill bans smoking pot.

Patients, caregivers and doctors spoke to the drug’s track record as a safe and effective treatment, one without the addictive qualities and side effects of certain approved prescription drugs.

On KVNU’s For the People program Thursday, Dr. Michael Holmstrom, president of the Utah Orthopedic Association, said he has testified many times about his support for such a bill.

“In other states that have had medical cannabis, there has been a 25% decrease in annual opioid overdose mortality rate since they adopted those rules,” Dr. Holmstrom said. “It’s proven fact that adopting this type of a bill can actually reduce our opioid epidemic.

“There’s a big question of what happens to our kids. In those states it was not accompanied by increasing use of marijuana, alcohol or cocaine in high school students.”

The senate bill now moves to the full Senate where lawmakers will likely consider a much broader marijuana plan.

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