Billionaire tycoon supports medical cannabis in Utah

Billionaire tycoon supports medical cannabis in Utah

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Philanthropist billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr. is interested in using medical cannabis to treat the painful symptoms associated with his health condition.

The Utah businessman has beaten cancer four times and currently battles an inflammatory muscle disorder, polymyalgia rheumatica, known for shoulder pain and stiffness.

“If medical marijuana was known by another name, it would have been utilized as a pain medication many years ago,” Huntsman told Deseret News  

Huntsman is open to trying medical cannabis after he rejected opiates, claiming the pain was more tolerable than succumbing to potential opiate addiction.

“From national research and understanding, the side effects of medical marijuana are considerably less than virtually all opioids and therefore less destructive to the body,” he added.

The Utah Patients Coalition praised Huntsman’s remarks and is looking forward to his support on the 2018 ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis state-wide.

Another advocacy group, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), stated they welcome his affirmation and understand the need to bring medical cannabis to patients who battle physically debilitating disorders.

Huntsman’s comments drew attention from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where he is an active member.

“This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety,” said Ethan Hawkins, church spokesman.

The statement also touched on the federal illegality of the plant and the need for more research before legalization takes effect.  

Two bills last year attempted to legalize medical cannabis failed in the state legislator, despite a 2017 measure promoting the research of hemp.