Sen. Hatch pitches with puns as he rolls out medical marijuana bill

Sen. Hatch pitches with puns as he rolls out medical marijuana bill (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) He said it's "high time to address research into medical marijuana," that state solutions haven't delved "into the weeds" of the issue, so he decided "to roll out" new federal legislation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch dropped all those puns in one paragraph of a press release, in a new push to promote more research into marijuana as medicine.

Hatch took to the Senate floor on Wednesday, to talk about his "Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017," which he dubbed the MEDS Act.

"This is a great incremental step," said Christine Stenquist, who has gone public about using marijuana for symptoms of an inoperable, non-malignant brain tumor. "But it does fall short of patient access."

Stenquist is part of the Utah Patients Coalition, which is collecting signatures to try to get a medical marijuana initiative on the state ballot in 2018.

"I have been using cannabis illegally here in Utah for five years," she said. "I started using it, and I was able to get out of bed and start walking. I stopped using my cane. I am completely pharma-free."

Utah's conservative Sutherland Institute has not been in a rush to make medical marijuana legal.

Boyd Matheson, Sutherland president, called his organization's approach prudent.

"The reason for that is to make sure we do it right," he said.

Matheson signaled more study is in line with that thinking.

"There are some important things Senator Hatch laid out in his speech today, in terms of accelerating the ability to do research," he said.

Matheson also saw Hatch's latest move as an effort to stay "relevant," as speculation continues on whether the seven term senator might run for reelection.

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