The founder of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), Jon Huntsman Sr. has announced that he is a robust advocate of medical marijuana.
Huntsman Sr. voiced his unambiguous support during a sit-down interview with Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 News. “I’m a very strong advocate for medical marijuana,” Huntsman explained. “I think some folks have it terribly confused with smoking marijuana.”
A founder and primary sponsor of the state-of-the-art cancer hospital at the University of Utah, Huntsman first started HCI in 1993 with a $10 million donation. Two years later, Huntsman bestowed another $100 million upon the Utah-based cancer institute.
“It’s really severe pain, sometimes you just want to scream out at night because of joints not working and things just breaking down on you.”
Candid, honest, and ready to experiment, the senior Huntsman and the Utah Patient’s Coalition now have something in common – their support of real medical marijuana.
Historically resistant of whole plant medicinal cannabis, Utah passed limited medical marijuana legislation in 2014. A CBD oil-only state, the therapeutic oil is restricted to qualifying patients with severe forms of epilepsy. Because CBD extract is currently not available in Utah, patients seeking the therapeutic oil must run the legal gauntlet and purchase their meds in a different medical marijuana state.
While effectual legislation has thus far been restrained thanks to some political connections within the LDS church, Utah’s Republican Gov. Herbert has repeatedly voiced concerns the system would be circumvented by the unscrupulous.
Gov. Herbert explained during a 2016 monthly news conference, “I’m not interested in having Dr. Feelgood out there say, ‘Yeah, yeah, que pasa, you know, here’s your doobie for the day and you’ll feel better.’” Pushing back on Gov. Herbert’s misguided portrayal, the Utah Patients Coalition is currently working on obtaining the necessary signatures to qualify a new MMJ initiative for the 2018 ballot.
Per a June 26th poll, 73% of surveyed Utahns support a statewide ballot measure to “allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana as treatment for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other serious illnesses.” In search of approximately 115,000 valid signatures from 26 of the 29 districts in Utah, the coalition has until April 15, 2018 to gather the required support.
When asked by the inquisitive reporter whether or not Mr. Huntsman had ever experimented with medical marijuana, the philanthropist answered that he had not. Asked if he would like to try it, the 80-year-old business tycoon replied simply, “Sure, I’d love to. I’ve had such severe pain at times and the opioids haven’t done the job.”
A major force in the Mormon Church, perhaps Huntsman’s support will make the difference in 2018.
Main photo courtesy of Business Insider