New legislation that would regulate production and sale of hemp cannabidiol products in Utah is set for a Senate vote after it passed committee on Feb. 7.
SB130 would require the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to issue licenses regulating hemp cannabidiol production and sale. Hemp cannabidiol products would be sold by pharmacies to individuals prescribed their use by a doctor.
Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, the bill’s sponsor, said many cannabidiol products currently being sold in unregulated environments may be laced with harmful products.
SB130 would regulate two areas of hemp policy, Vickers said. The first portion would regulate what types of hemp cannabidiol are sold, and the second portion would regulate their distribution through approved pharmacies.
“This is a medical product that the Department of Agriculture would take over, growing the product in the state of Utah, growing the hemp CBD plant,” Vickers said. “They would oversee the production of that product, taking that hemp CBD and transforming it into a medicinal dosage form of a product a physician would feel comfortable prescribing to a patient.”
Vickers said that while some pharmacies will refuse to sell cannabis products, it is important to make safe cannabinoid products available to individuals with medical needs.
Scott Erickson, deputy commissioner at the Department of Agriculture and Food, spoke in support of SB130. Erickson said some unregulated hemp cannabidiol products are mixed with other products or foods, causing harm to users.
“FDA is responsible for regulating drugs, but (cannabidiols) are not necessarily drugs,” Erickson said. “There is a hole this bill attempts to address.”
SB130 would also grant the Department of Agriculture and Food the statutory responsibility to determine which hemp cannabidiol products are suitable for medicinal use.
Stan Rasmussen of the Sutherland Institute spoke in support of SB130.
“SB130 directs the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to regulate such transactions including the provision that CBD oils would be vended through pharmacies,” Rasmussen said. “Because of this and other prudent changes it specifies, we support SB130.”
Connor Boyack, a member of the Libertas Institute, said many retailers have expressed concern about selling cannabis products if legalized. Boyack said while he supports regulation of cannabidiol quality and ingredients, he does not believe further regulations are necessary if a product has been declared safe.
“If we’re talking about CBD that does pose no public health (risk) at all, that has been declared safe by the department for human consumption and has no psychoactivity at all, we find it unnecessary to have all sorts of regulation regarding the production and distribution,” Boyack said.
Tom Paskett, policy director for Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education Utah, said SB130 would clarify issues caused by misinformation about cannabis products.
“We have seen patients who have been steered in the wrong direction by folks who are maybe unaware of the problems that come with unregulated CBD products,” Paskett said. “We certainly appreciate the regulatory oversight that (SB130) would provide.”