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Woman cries foul on Utah medical marijuana laws

Emily Roberts speaks at the state capital about a court case regarding THC (PHOTO: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — With a special legislative session planned for next week, the spotlight has never been brighter on Utah’s medical marijuana laws.

One woman from Provo is crying foul. Specifically, about what she calls the hypocrisy of state law on the issue.

Emily Roberts was in a severe car accident years ago, which rendered her unable to walk.

Subsequent physical therapy helped her regain that movement, but the sharp aches and pains of everyday life continue.

Medical marijuana addressed daily pain

Roberts has two young children, ages two and four, and says the traumatic pain she encounters daily severely limits her parenting ability.

Through years of trial and error, she has attempted to find a remedy to her chronic pain.

To this day I suffer from constant back and nerve pain,” explains Roberts. “As a result, the doctors have given me every possible pain medication, none of which have been successful.”

The exception to the rule has been medical marijuana.

According to Roberts, she first tried medical marijuana about three years ago in Colorado. She says it controlled her pain much better than any previous drug.

Reluctant to use medical marijuana in Utah

Yet Roberts is reluctant to use medical marijuana in Utah, fearing the repercussions it could have on her family.

Specifically, she tested positive in a court-ordered drug test in the Juvenile Justice system after using CBD oil.

The judge in that case asserts she’s breaking the law and Roberts has faced the possibility of losing her two children.

“I don’t actually want to have to choose between keeping my kids and being out of pain,” says Roberts. “I’d rather be out of pain and being able to take care of them 100% better.”

She remains unwilling to utilize medical marijuana fearing that another failed test will mean the loss of her children.

The use of CBD oil has also become complicated since it can contain up to .3% THC and be detected in a drug test.

“When I am experiencing some of my worst pain days the CBD has been the only treatment that has given me the ability to be the mother that my children deserve,” she explains.

According to Roberts, she’s being drug tested once or twice a week and last year it was as many as three or four times a week.

She says the drug tests are totally random and difficult for her to perform, given her continued physical limitations.

A need for doctor’s recommendation

One of the sticking points in court has been the legality, or lack thereof, a doctor’s recommendation.

Roberts has received written recommendations from in-state doctors about medical marijuana, yet the judge in her case has asserted that it doesn’t replace an actual prescription.

Additionally, the judge has previously defined medical cannabis as only CBD and zero THC.

Roberts claims that encroaches on her ability to use CBD oil since it can register trace amounts of THC in a drug test.

This ongoing court case comes on the heels of special session HB 3001, in which lawmakers will vote on amendments to Proposition 2.