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How will marijuana grower decide who gets cannabis oil?

Published March 25, 2014 7:53 pm

Q & A • Despite new Utah law, getting the oil to Utah kids will be a big challenge for parents.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The non-profit Realm of Caring Foundation in Colorado markets an oil, Alepsia, that it says will qualify under Utah's upcoming cannabis law.

There is a waiting list, including 50 Utah children, for Alepsia. To be legal for use in Utah after July 1, an oil can contain no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that gives users a high, and no less than 15 percent cannabidiol (CBD).

READ MORE: Utah families celebrate passage of cannabis "Charlee's Law"

How does the Realm's waiting list work?

Alepsia is limited because the Realm can only grow a specified number of plants per patient. Crops are harvested in March and October, and patients on the wait list are provided with Alepsia according to supply.

When Colorado passed its law regarding recreational marijuana this January, the state also passed legislation allowing organizations to apply for a Hemp Grower's License to grow hemp by the acre as an agricultural crop.

The Realm has applied for a hemp license and is hoping to soon be able to grow the Charlotte's Web plant that yields Alepsia by the acre, increasing supply.

READ MORE: Slow-growing plant yields marijuana designed for kids

The Realm is also working toward growing and producing Alepsia outside of the U.S., where it can be grown by the acre as an agricultural crop. They are hopeful that Alepsia will be available through their international crop by spring 2015.

In what order will Utah patients receive Alepsia?

Alepsia will be received by the patients of Hope 4 Children with Epilepsy before it is received by other patients in Utah.

If a patient does not have the required registration card or chooses to pass on the treatment at the time, the Realm will move to the next patient on the list until the previous patient is prepared to receive Alepsia.

The Realm will then provide Alepsia to other Utah patients in the order that they sign up for the waiting list.

How will patients purchase Alepsia?

Because Alepsia was developed, and is currently sold, under Colorado's medical marijuana program, patients must become Colorado residents and apply for a Colorado medical marijuana card in order to purchase Alepsia.

And because the patient must also possess a Utah Hemp Registration Card in order to bring Alepsia home to Utah, one parent would need to become a Colorado resident to apply for a medical marijuana card to purchase Alepsia in Colorado, and another parent would need to remain a Utah resident and apply for a hemp registration card to bring Alepsia home to Utah.

Under Colorado's new hemp law, Realm of Caring will be able to sell Alepsia just as it would any other agricultural crop. Patients will be able to purchase as much Alepsia as needed, whenever it is needed, through a store front.

Realm of Caring is working toward growing and producing Alepsia outside of the U.S. When this is accomplished, it can ship Alepsia into the U.S. to any patient in any state, regardless of whether there are laws allowing for cannabis or hemp. Hemp products can be legally imported from outside the U.S. but cannot be sold or transported from state to state.

How will patients transport Alepsia?

Currently, patients will need to travel to Colorado every couple of months to purchase Alepsia and transport it home themselves.

Because it remains technically federally illegal to transport any form of cannabis (including hemp) across state lines, Utahns will be breaking federal law by doing so. Also, a supplier in another state would be breaking federal law by shipping any form of cannabis (including hemp) into Utah.