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What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 73 of Utah in the Weeds features Representative Jennifer Dailey-Provost of Utah’s District 24. Dailey-Provost has worked on a number of Medical Cannabis and hemp bills in the Beehive State.

Host Tim Pickett and Dailey-Provost started their conversation with an overview of Dailey-Provost’s career in politics. District 24 is one of the two most liberal districts in Utah, representing the northeast corner of Salt Lake County. All of Dailey-Provost’s constituents live in Salt Lake City. Rep. Angela Romero’s District 26 is the other blue district competing for the title of most liberal in Utah. [02:15]

Dailey-Provost told us about the genesis of her involvement in Medical Cannabis legislation and her views on the harms of marijuana criminalization. [05:19]

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes launched Utah’s Opioid Task Force to combat opioid addictions and overdoses. Rep. Dailey-Provost is one of the many stakeholders in the task force. She and Tim talked about the opioid crisis in Utah and the need for better access to Medical Cannabis. [10:40]

Dailey-Provost’s legislative service began after the Utah Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law in late 2018. Since Dailey-Provost wasn’t in the legislature yet, she “didn’t have the opportunity to vote no” on the changes the UMCA made to the voter-approved Medical Marijuana initiative outlined in Proposition 2 that year. Since then, she’s been involved in several changes to improve Utah’s Medical Cannabis program for patients, and she predicts the legislature will have at least one new Medical Cannabis-related bill each year from now on. [16:34]

Tim and Jennifer talked about some of the hurdles Medical Cannabis patients in Utah are still dealing with, and the changes they’d like to see in the program. [28:34]

Dailey-Provost said she doesn’t have a personal relationship with cannabis, but she’s grateful for the opportunities that Utah’s Medical Cannabis program provides for patients. [39:17]

She wanted to emphasize that she and some of her fellow lawmakers are still working on legislation regarding hemp and hemp flower in Utah. She encourages her constituents who are Medical Cannabis patients to contact her if they have any feedback or concerns that can be addressed through legislation. [40:04]

Resources in This Episode

Podcast Transcript

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everyone out to episode 73 of Utah in the Weeds. My name is Tim Pickett I am your host. And today we’re talking to Jennifer Dailey-Provost, she is a representative in Utah’s House of Representatives District 24. She’s a Democratic representative in a fairly liberal district here in Utah. I know for those of you outside of Utah in New York, New York, those people who are listening to the podcast, there are some liberal, some left, some right, right in the city. It happens it’s true. Anyway, this is a great conversation. Just so you know, if you were involved or if you want to get involved, you want something changed in the legislation come spring in Utah, you need to be involved now. You need to be emailing, sending those letters, get involved because now’s the time when things start to happen and those conversations are starting to happen.

Tim Pickett:
I’m excited to share this episode with you. A couple of housekeeping items. Be sure you’re subscribed to the Discover Marijuana YouTube channel. If you are interested in having a question answered, or you want to reach out to us, to be honest, the best way I have found people to do that is simply go on the YouTube channel, make a comment on one of those videos, and we get ahold of everybody. We answer all the questions. We take every comment like it’s a personal request.

Tim Pickett:
Second, I think those videos come out every week with our partners this month … This season. WholesomeCo, a medical cannabis pharmacy, and Zion Medicinal, great partners this season. Lots of good education coming out of that YouTube channel. Shout out to my staff. We had our Christmas party last weekend at Snowbird ski resort at Oktoberfest. What a beautiful setting. And yes, Christmas in October is amazing. Have your Christmas party early. That was one of the best ideas we had. We got to know everybody a little better, it was a nice spread-out venue so we weren’t all in everybody’s faces. Anyway. I thought that was a great time.

Jen Dailey-Provost, everyone, let’s get into this conversation. So tell us about … Where is House District 24 so we know?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Sure. It is the northeast corner of Salt Lake County so it resides completely in Salt Lake City and goes from I-15 on the west all the way up to the health sciences portion of the University of Utah with the northern border being Davis County. And it goes as far south as 400 South on the west and then snakes up to Second South.

Tim Pickett:
So a fairly … What I would consider … I grew up here in Utah, right, I’m in Bountiful, we’re in Ray Ward’s district. A little more conservative than your district. Am I right?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Yes. I represent one of the two most liberal districts in the state of Utah. Angela Romero, representative from there represents House District 26, and we bounce back and forth between which district swings more blue.

Tim Pickett:
Got it. So you’re one of … How many Democrats even get elected in Utah?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right now there are 17 Democrats in the House out of 75. There are six Democrats in the Senate out of 29. Back in 2010, there were 22 Democrats in the House and 12 Democrats in the Senate, and then redistricting happened in 2011. And then in the 2012 session, there were 12 Democrats in the House and I believe five in the Senate so we lost 10 seats in the House and seven seats in the Senate in a single election after reapportionment and redistricting in 2011. And that’s … From a democratic perspective, I understand that this is a conservative state and the majority of voters are Republican and that’s perfectly fine. But 17 Democrats in the House is … Does not reflect the percentage of voters in the state of Utah who vote … Who tend to vote Democrat. So we definitely have a lot of disenfranchised voters out there.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And for somebody like me, I represent House District 24, which is quite liberal. I feel like I have an opportunity and an obligation to represent the people that live in my district, but also a lot of voters around the state whose representative may or may not represent their views in policy issues. So I’m sure you know a person or two that may feel that way. And certainly, there are sure there are people who are conservative in my district who feel that I don’t accurately represent their views all the time, but by and large, the feedback from my community is very good. And I try to … I strive … I definitely strive to listen to all views and make as good of a representative decision as I can.

Tim Pickett:
I mean, for me personally, I think that I hone in on that idea that you’re representing ideas, right, that … Especially as we get into this medical marijuana, medical cannabis discussion today, we really … We need you, right. There’s a huge portion of-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Thank you.

Tim Pickett:
Well, and there’s a big portion of the Utah population that want access to medical cannabis, and that idea needs a voice in the legislature. How has that been? Okay, maybe we should back up and ask, really how did you get involved in medical marijuana in Utah?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
That’s a great question. So prior to running for office, I actually worked as the executive director for a professional membership organization called the Utah Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Ward is a member. And I worked with … Prior to running for office, prior to his running for office, I worked with him a lot on Medicaid expansion. That was how I actually met him in the policy advocacy world because he’s always been a really strong advocate for better access to healthcare, especially for low-income communities in our state. When he was elected I continued to work with him on a lot of those issues while I worked as a policy advocate for primary care health care issues, public health issues.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And then my representative, Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck, who was a … Is a mentor and a dear friend of mine, retired from … She decided not to run again after serving 10 years in the House. After watching her and working with her closely on policy issues … And she was the hardened advocate for medical cannabis whenever it came up in the legislature while she served as well, which really truly reflects the majority of the voices in our community here in House District 24. And so after watching her do amazing things as a Democrat in a conservative legislature, a supermajority conservative legislature, as a strong woman, she’s Latina, just is beloved in our community, I was really inspired by watching how many great things she was able to do despite a lot of political barriers. And I was just really inspired to take my passion for public health, and healthcare access, and primary care to the legislature because I love the policy world.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I’ve worked with legislature … Many of the legislators that I currently serve with, I worked with for years before serving and so it would … It was an easy transition for me into the legislature because I had already built a lot of strong relationships across the aisle. And one of my favorite things about policy is that there are a lot of issues like medical cannabis that transcend political lines. And I don’t want to say that that’s universal, but there are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle that really see and support the benefit of this really important access to medical care. The really strong push was pushed by a Republican years ago. The bill that passed the Senate, Mark Madsen, years ago but then ended up failing in the House was one of the great examples of the beginning of bipartisan work on this issue.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And I’m also, just as a point of interest, I’m a PhD student in public health at the University of Utah, currently working on my dissertation. I’m done with classwork and I hope to be done with that soon but I really have a strong passion. It is my passion to more the areas of public health, improving health outcomes for people with policy, and especially in light of the opioid epidemic, in light of COVID. And I just … I’ve always, always felt that cannabis was, in just about every form was wrongly criminalized. I think that it’s done far more harm both from a medical and recreational standpoint for … I mean, many magnitudes more harm in our state, in our country than any criminalization, any harm that may … That people may think that they’ve prevented by criminalizing cannabis. And so-

Tim Pickett:
So you’re-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
For me, every policy is a public health issue.

Tim Pickett:
So you’re saying that it’s caused more harm as a … The criminalization of the cannabis plant clear back from the 1937 Tax Act is the thing in the American-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
The NEXUS, right.

Tim Pickett:
The NEXUS where everybody puts it there. But ’70s with Nixon, and ’80s with Reagan, and this whole “Just Say No” thing. I mean-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
The war on drugs.

Tim Pickett:
The war on drugs. The 94 Crime Bill. All the way through the criminalization of the cannabis plant, in general, has done far more harm than the benefit from criminalizing it.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Correct. Exactly.

Tim Pickett:
Okay.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And if you could quantify the good that’s been avoided or prevented, especially through cannabis or medical access, I mean, I can’t even begin how you would quantify that. Go back in time and measure how different life would be if people had access to medical cannabis instead of opioids over the last 20 years. I mean, again, many magnitudes more harm in the criminalization and the avoiding the medical benefits of cannabis.

Tim Pickett:
What’s your role on the … In the opioid … There’s a … You’re on a task force or something with the opioids. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right. So Attorney General Sean Reyes started the Utah opioid task force, and we meet quarterly. It’s got a broad number of stakeholders from a lot of areas. Legislative add … Policy advocates, civil advocates, industry people. And we just try to look at what other states are doing, what other countries are doing to minimize or eliminate a lot of the harm that we are still struggling with, with regard to opioids, particularly in light of the COVID pandemic we’re seeing a strong uptick in the harm that is coming out of that with mental health issues, lack … Diminished access to healthcare that was already diminished, it was already low. And it’s a good opportunity I think for me in getting to know the other stakeholders, and building bridges, and problem-solving. I continue to be hopeful that more positive work comes out of that committee. I know that the attorney general feels strongly about making sure that it’s successful. We may have some differing opinions on how the best way to go about that, but that’s why we … That’s why it’s important to get people to the table to have these conversations.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like Utah still has just a terrible opioid problem?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Oh, it absolutely does. It doesn’t really matter what I feel objectively, we’re one of the … We’re still one of the worst states in the nation, the data says so. And while we have people like Jennifer Plumb, Dr. Plumb, who has done amazing things with improving access to Naloxone, we have to … At some point, we have to get out of this mode of only focusing on saving people on the backend of it, and prevention and helping get more people to true meaningful recovery. If-

Tim Pickett:
Is this about-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
If that’s what’s most meaningful for them.

Tim Pickett:
Is this about … From a legislative standpoint, is the opioid problem really about trying to fund treatment programs or education programs on the front end so that our providers aren’t prescribing? It’s always confusing to me because as a prescriber if somebody comes in … My background’s in surgery, so we cut somebody wide open, they’re going to need a lot of strong pain medication and we’re going to need … We need opioids. They’re very, very useful in that setting.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right. There’s a place for it.

Tim Pickett:
Right. There’s a place for that.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
For sure.

Tim Pickett:
From time to time. But I was trained to give 65 Percocets to the gallbladder surgery as they go home. Something just way higher than they need, right.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
They should never need.

Tim Pickett:
That’s what we … That’s what they … They shouldn’t need that many. So education on the front end has lowered the prescribing, but then there’s … The resources to get people off of opioids it seems like it’s so hard to get people access to the right pain provider who is going to help them get off instead of charge them a copay every month to renew those prescriptions. I mean, okay, I’ve got some friends out there who are pain docs and we love you, but that is the image. And then on the backend, decriminalizing … Or what do you do on the back end because you’ve got this problem of people selling it on the street.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
Right. And you’re criminalizing that too. Is this … I don’t know. I mean, maybe I’m just speaking my mind here and I’m just talking about the problems and I have no solutions.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Well, your question is a good one. And then … And it really comes down to, from a policy standpoint, a budgeting standpoint where resources are finite. Do we focus on prevention or do we focus on fixing the problem? Helping the people that are already lost in this cycle. And I think the obvious question is we do both because you can’t do one and not the other. And that’s, unfortunately, a stickier question than it should be because we just don’t seem to have the political will or the ability to really put the resources needed into getting this done. Now, that said, there was the announcement a couple of weeks ago with the settlement, the lawsuit settlement against the opioid companies, and the state of Utah was a plaintiff in that. And so there is funding coming to the state that is specifically for addressing the opioid crisis. And I’m hoping that the guidelines, the guard rails around that will stay really, really tight.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
25 years ago, there was the Master Settlement with the tobacco companies. And to this day, every state gets certain funds coming into the state from that tobacco settlement, but a small percentage of that tobacco settlement money actually goes toward prevention and cessation efforts regarding tobacco. It gets funneled to completely unrelated things and that’s absolutely unacceptable in my mind. And so I actually have a bill file open already to put guidelines, and guardrails, and restrictions on what that money can go for so that it only goes toward prevention, recovery, mitigation efforts with … Specifically with regard to the opioid crisis. And I got to be honest with you, if we’re going to look at the data and we’re going to look at the science, part of that needs to be better access to medical cannabis.

Tim Pickett:
I was just going to say, I mean, can we get a little bit of that money for research on how medical cannabis is quantitatively reducing opioid use and abuse within these states? Because we know statistically our ER visits for opioid-related overdose will go down a little bit as access to medical cannabis … That’s pretty true across the board, but we do need access. You came into the medical cannabis legislatively after, right? You weren’t a part of the original bill, you were part of the 2020 update. You were the House sponsor.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Well, right, right. When the ballot initiative passed in 2018, it was … I was elected in November of 2018, and then in December of 2018 was when the legislature came in and totally changed the ballot initiative that was passed. I didn’t take office until January of 2019, and so I didn’t have an opportunity to vote no on that change. Now, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Representative Chavez-Houck, who was still in office voted against that and so I think our community was well-represented in that vote. But it has become … Whether they wanted me to or not, I was very assertive in being in the room on the discussions on medical cannabis. I like to push people every now and then and really talk about my experience, my passion from a scientific standpoint, from the public health standpoint, and my desire to just be … To roll my sleeves up, be at the table, help out, offer perspectives that were new. Certainly at the time, because I was brand new to the legislature, and having been in this policy area, and watched everything sort of transpire prior to the opportunity to serve in the legislature.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And so to their credit, my colleagues, conservative and liberal, have been very welcoming and respectful, and I’m grateful for their input, they’re grateful for mine. I’ve been … I’ve had the chance to be at the table for a lot of these discussions. And in the 19 … 2019 session, I did … I had opened up a bill file to address … And I had gotten feedback from community advocates actually about problems with the law and so I opened a bill file. I was a freshmen, brand new Democrat in conservative Utah, but had a goal of trying to be really precise about fixing some of the most fundamental problems. Not trying to run these big, giant sweeping bills that would create fundamental change, but important, incremental change on some of the issues that were most salient and most critical to patients trying to access the medication. I had … I was fortunate to have a … The right bill file at the right time to get some really important things done at the last minute during the session.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And it was … I used to joke that because I had that bill file open and already in the queue for a couple of weeks, I was the most populated … Popular legislator on the Hill because everybody wanted something. Wanted to slip something into the supplemental cannabis bill but it was nice. It was nice to be able to be the gatekeeper on the final say on some of those things and to really have an opportunity to guide the discussion and the policy in the state that I thought would be most meaningful for patients of the state.

Tim Pickett:
Do you have a … And for listeners, we did an episode with Rich Oborn on that update when it passed back in the spring. So if you go back and you listen to that update with Rich Oborn, a lot of the … What is … Our listeners are very interested in on use, these rules with the EVS system, the Electronic Verification System, and stuff like that. Do you have a favorite couple of things that you got done?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
So for that bill, one of my … Two of my favorite things were number one, we … It became apparent that people were not going to have access to their medical cards in time. That the letters … That the deadline on the letters would expire before people got their cards and so it would effectively eliminate access for a window of time until the bureaucracy grinded through the process of getting out what we were supposed to get out. And so we were able to extend the time that people could use their affirmative defense letters to access their medication, and so that was really lucky and timely. And then my other favorite thing was including a provision that allows for patients who are … Who have been stable on their cannabis for a full year, to basically refill their medications without revisiting their physician. They can go a whole year. They can basically just have an open prescription.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And that was really, really important to me because I view medical cannabis for stable patients and I’m not alone in this view, a lot like a diabetic on insulin. A diabetic who is stable on insulin does not need to go to their doctor every three months to make sure everything’s fine, the doctor can just say, “You have access to the insulin as you need it. Here’s your prescription. Call me if anything’s wrong.” And there were a lot of caregivers in the state and one specific, really big hospital system that felt the same about that, that we don’t need to micromanage stable patients on this relatively safe medication when a provider has deemed that patient stable. And so that was actually … That’s probably my favorite thing that we’ve accomplished in updating the laws in … With regard to medical cannabis in being more patient-friendly and working towards better health outcomes.

Tim Pickett:
I think you’re … I remember that specific thing. And I remember you were key because we … Oh, yes, we were talking about this for sure. And I remember hearing, “Oh, Jen Dailey-Provost is … She’s the key. She’s not going to give that up. She’s not going to give that up there. They’re not … There’s too much support for that.” I think you’re a little … Personally, I think you’re a little ahead. I think the legislation is just slightly ahead of the standardized education for patients. So while I disagreed with you on … And I disagree necessarily with the … With that piece of the legislation, I don’t disagree in the long term.

Tim Pickett:
And look at IHC, for example. You’ve got an organization that does not provide very good cannabis education to their patients, allowing their patients to use it for an entire year. To me, I want the patients to have such a good experience and such good education all the way through. We’ve got to find a way to educate the providers better so that they’re more comfortable, and then therefore their patients are a little more comfortable. So I think it was a little ahead, but I agree with the premise because most states are … Most states allow for a once-a-year. And I just testified in North Carolina at the judiciary hearing on their medical cannabis bill, and literally, I said, “50,000 people died in 2019 of opioid-related deaths and zero died of cannabis-related deaths.” So from a safety profile, I can’t disagree with you.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right. Well, and that’s the beauty of the way that we structured the language is it’s up to the provider, right. And yes, you … I can understand you as a provider have some criticism on how other providers make that decision, but it comes down to the doctor-patient relationship, right, and I think that that is sacrosanct. And I don’t think that it was the right thing for the legislature to decide how much medication a patient can have. We don’t-

Tim Pickett:
Very good point.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I mean, the only other thing we’ve started doing that with is opioids, right.

Tim Pickett:
Yes.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And 20 years late. But even then, statutory descriptions of how many opioids somebody can get is limited. They’ve just put guardrails on what a provider can do. And with opioids, opioids is its own unique monster, right. We don’t do that. I take Synthroid, for example, I’m hypothyroid. Nowhere on statute does it say a patient can only have so much Synthroid, right, nor should it.

Tim Pickett:
Amen. And I would … I mean, so to take this a step further, you … You’re working on access to medical cannabis in the ways you can because we could now get into this discussion on qualifying conditions, right, in Utah, and we can probably agree if your argument for more patient-provider autonomy in that relationship, then we would take that a step further and say, “Well, maybe I’m the one who gets to decide more if this is a good medication for you or not.” And we should not have-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I agree completely.

Tim Pickett:
The legislation … Would you agree with this?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I agree with that completely. I do have a lot of heartburn about the list of qualifying conditions. I am glad if nothing else we have the compassionate use boards so that it’s not completely set in stone, it’s only kind of set in stone. But I think that we can do a lot better. As a legislature we’ve always been … We … I mean, not we going before me forever have typically been pretty good about maintaining autonomy and authority for the medical professionals who have the medical knowledge that they … That we all we as patients need and rely on them for. Medical cannabis is really the only exception. We don’t have statutory language that says you can only prescribe opioids for these conditions.

Tim Pickett:
Right.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And so I do … While I disagree with my colleagues on the … On having that list of conditions, it is just one of those areas that we will continue to try to push where we can. And I have colleagues who call medical cannabis the legislature’s full-time Employment Act. We are always … Every year we are going to revisit cannabis statute. It just is … We will … We have to. We have a responsibility to make sure that our laws, hopefully not too slowly, but consistently move towards the best medical situation that we can provide for our patients, for the state’s patients so that we’re all equal. Always going to have ideological differences on how that’s done, but I mean, I can promise you as long as I’m in the legislature I can’t see not having at least one bill file a year for medical cannabis. It’s just one of those open bill files. Medical cannabis check, we’ll figure out what we need to put in there.

Tim Pickett:
Right.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
But it just needs to happen.

Tim Pickett:
I could totally see that being the case. And as I learn a little bit more about other states and what’s happening in other states, especially … And with the federal government too, it’s just … It’s such a rocket ship. It’s moving so fast, and the products are changing dramatically, and how people feel about it in our culture, even in Utah, even in this little conservative place, we are … Seems to be fairly open. Although I surround myself with people who are pro-cannabis I’m sure.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right.


Tim Pickett:
So how does … Do you have anything that is in the bill you just don’t like?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Well, we talked about the list of qualifying conditions. I’m trying to think back to what I had. I wish that there was easier access for patients 18 to 20. I think the 21 age thing is a little bit concerning. I will always have concern over limits on patients. I think that … And I have said this since the beginning. While the intention was to limit, like you said, doctor shopping, I think putting those limits actually had the paradoxical effect of him increasing that behavior and that’s really unfortunate. I would like-

Tim Pickett:
I could not agree more. I could not-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
As somebody who runs … We educate 30 medical providers. And on the one hand, we’ve been able to educate a lot more providers because of the limits so I can look at the good side and say, “You know what? There’s maybe 15 or 20 more medical providers out there now who understand medical cannabis a lot more than they would’ve before.”

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
But from a patient care standpoint, it … We can get into this. I could talk about this all day, but it is not great for patient care to have to be limited on not being able to come see me. For example, is … You would think, well, I want to go see the person who I want to go see. I was referred to him-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Who’s the expert?

Tim Pickett:
Right. So I’m glad to hear you say that. I think that that’s something that I personally think that’s a big, big lift. I think that’s really, really going to be tough to change.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
It is. Just as somebody who is an ardent advocate of the benefits of primary care in that continuity of care, I’m really, really hopeful that we can continue to work on better educating providers so that patients can stay with their primary care physician and get that continuity of care. I think that will lead to better outcomes. But the key really is getting providers comfortable with that. And you provide … People like you providing the education, and the information, and the knowledge base, but to tie it all together. So in an ideal world, it wouldn’t matter if we had limits because everybody would just be able to go to the provider that they want to go to and we wouldn’t need to put limits on it because everybody is where they’re supposed to be.

Tim Pickett:
I totally see that happening. Your bill also added the limited medical provider allowing providers who are not registered with the state to recommend medical cannabis for up to 15 of their patients, which could really be a … That is a … That’s a nice start for providers who aren’t comfortable with it and to get into it, right. To get that feedback from the patient.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right. Just to clarify. That was Senator Escamilla’s bill, but thank you.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, okay, thank you.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I would love to have referred to it back to my bill.

Tim Pickett:
And that bill … Oh, yeah-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
That was a great bill.

Tim Pickett:
And her bill also added the … Where we all have to now put our pricing on the web, right?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Yes. Transparency.

Tim Pickett:
Transparency.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Because there was a lot of … There were some bad actors who were really targeting the vulnerability and the desperation of patients who really needed their medication and so I think the transparency piece is big.

Tim Pickett:
We’ve heard stories of people going and showing up in an Office Max parking lot with $400, $500 cash to a provider who got them certified and then essentially just disappeared, or got them a letter and then just disappeared. It’s been … It’s surprising how bad it could get. And I chuckle and I feel terrible about that, but I think you really got to be desperate. The desperation to do that and to think that is okay is really too bad so I’m not opposed to those things at all. In the long run, access and education is really what we have to have. And now it feels like to me, you’re in a really, really great spot because you have a lot to do with the opioids and then you have a lot to do with the cannabis, and so you have the ability and now we get all these people on the controlled substance database. Was that your bill or Escamilla?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
That was Escamilla.

Tim Pickett:
So then we get all these people on the controlled substance database and now you can do all your research.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
That’s my hope in an ideal world, right. And then we just have to convince all the legislators to make sure that good data informs good policy. But if we did that … If we had that, we’d have a much better medical cannabis program in the state so we’re working on it.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like Utah’s Medical Cannabis program is one of the better programs that you’ve seen?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I guess it depends on how you define better. I think it’s better than what we used to have which was nothing. And going back to what you were saying about unscrupulous people taking advantage of desperate patients, and stealing from them, and tricking them. This was one of the main reasons we needed to have a medical cannabis program to start with because prior to that bill that was what was happening. People were … Patients were trying to get access to cannabis and they were meeting … Getting money … Hundreds, thousands of dollars stolen from them in parking lots. They were just hopeful that they might find somebody who could provide them with access to something that would help them with legitimate health concerns, knowing that it was illegal, knowing that they had to break the law to do it, and having no recourse when somebody stole something from them. And so the fact that this is still happening in the construct of our legal cannabis, medical cannabis program is deeply concerning and it just tells me that we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

Tim Pickett:
I agree. What else are you working on?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
So I’ve, of course, got a medical cannabis bill file open. And one of the things that has come to my attention that I really hope we can focus on is to eliminate situations wherein custodial issues, parental custodial issues, that a patient who has a medical cannabis card, who is legally using medical cannabis, the other parent cannot use that cannabis use as a reason to limit access to their children.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I’ve heard some really harrowing stories of a father who is … Who has a significant pain problem well-controlled on medical cannabis, but his ex-wife insists that he have a claim drug screen before he can have unsupervised visitation with his own kids. And I mean, that’s just … That just … It doesn’t … It shouldn’t be that way. If he is under the care of a physician and receiving a medication … If he was on massive doses of opioids she wouldn’t be able to do that, and I would like to see an end to that. So that’s really one of my priorities right now is to make sure that people count weaponize prescribed cannabis against other people, especially in custody, and child, and divorce cases.

Tim Pickett:
I have a personal relationship with that type of case as well, and could not agree more-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
It’s a travesty.

Tim Pickett:
That we’ve got to figure out ways to educate those people because like you say, you could have … You can have your Percocet bottle, your benzos all over, and that’s totally fine. You have a jar of cannabis flower on the table and now everything just changes based on what? I feel like we have good data.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
It’s nonsensical.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like you’re going to get pushback from that?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Probably.

Tim Pickett:
Do you get pushback from-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
But that’s what I do.

Tim Pickett:
Everything just because of the subject?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Pushback on everything just because.

Tim Pickett:
You’re like oh, you have a D.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
It’s pretty rare that … I have a D by my name. And I admittedly … I run some … I run legislation that really pushes the envelope. Like I said, I feel like representing the district that I do, I think I have an obligation to run legislation that really takes people out of their comfort zone, that looks at really new policy areas. I run legislation that I sort of … I willingly inherited from representative Chavez-Houck, and that is end-of-life prescription options for terminally ill patients. This is the policy that I really believe in and runs up against a brick wall. But if we don’t run these bills, if we don’t have these conversations, we’re never going to get there. And so I think that this custody issue with regard to medical cannabis is definitely going to be a heavy lift, but in a state that claims to be family-friendly, if we’re putting up barriers to parents who want to see their kids.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
The problem that we have in society is deadbeat parents, not parents who finally have found pain control through medical cannabis and are legally using it, losing access to their children. I am divorced and remarried and I have two kids with my first husband, and it is critical to me that my kids have a healthy relationship with their dad and that everybody doesn’t feel that way. And this is me getting up on my soapbox and trying to … I’m not trying to assert any moral authority, but the last thing that we need right now is for parents who want to be in their kids’ lives, have to put their kids through the trauma of weird supervised visits and it just doesn’t need to be that way. And so I’m hoping that we can really push the narrative that this policy is one of the most family-friendly things that we can do, that this will absolutely lead to better outcomes for children in our state.

Tim Pickett:
Couldn’t agree more. You definitely … You’re elected to get … You’re elected to this soapbox a little bit, that’s so to speak, so you get to do that.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Thanks.

Tim Pickett:
Do you have … Everybody always wants to know, do you have a personal relationship with cannabis?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I do not, actually. I feel very lucky that I had … I don’t have any medical conditions that I need it for, but I am really, really grateful to know that it is an opportunity should that arise. I do have a sibling who has intense back pain and finds a huge amount of relief from medical cannabis and stays off opioids. I mean, that’s … That is not my personal use, but that is very personal to me. And so I am so, so grateful that the opportunity exists to avoid opioids and to find good relief in a safe medication.

Tim Pickett:
Is there anything else that you want to talk about, you want to bring up, you think is important, especially in this community?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Yeah. I want … It’s really important to me that everybody know that we’re still trying to work on hemp. That was a big issue during the last session and during the special session. I think that it is really unfortunate. We’ve got to find some common ground on making sure that hemp flower is available since cannabis flower is available. That we can … That patients can access cannabis flower but that we still have to … And it’s a complicated issue. I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t very nuanced with Delta 9, Delta 8. But I just … I know that growers especially are feeling very uncertain and frightened about what the future holds and I just … It’s important to me that everybody knows that we absolutely are committed to continuing to work on this and I’m optimistic that we’ll get there.

Tim Pickett:
You’ll get to better regulation around hemp growing in Utah and sale, right? We’ve had quite a few hemp growers-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
On the podcast, frankly, and they’ve talked about how they can grow the best flower but they have to go to Nevada to sell it back to Utah.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
It doesn’t make any sense.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
It just … It’s nonsensical and certainly isn’t … Doesn’t promote the business-friendly atmosphere that we like to tout so often.

Tim Pickett:
Right.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
There’s some work to do but we’re committed.

Tim Pickett:
Cool. Okay, great. And the Delta 8, Delta 9 … For anybody who is not familiar with Delta 8, Delta 9, go back through our podcast, go to Utahmarijuana.org. We’ve got webinars, YouTube videos on Discover Marijuana, a YouTube channel specifically about Delta 8, Delta 9. It is a highly controversial topic in the medical and the hemp space, and the hemp guys love it because it’s saving their business and making people feel better, and the medical marijuana guys don’t know what to think about it on some respects.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And the state agencies have really strong feelings.

Tim Pickett:
And they probably don’t love it. Want it to be … Want it to go away and be in the medical market I would imagine.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
That’s the general consensus I think among a lot of the regulatory bodies right now.

Tim Pickett:
It’s just an unknown … There’s a few things that are key that aren’t quite known perfectly about it, and it seems to be … If we have better regulation, better testing in the medical market, it makes sense that it would reside there at least for a while.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
And the technology changes all the time and what we know changes all the time. We just … We got to work on the research and the education. There’s a lot of work to do.

Tim Pickett:
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for coming to talk to me.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Thanks for having me. This has been really fun.

Tim Pickett:
For anybody who’s listening, you can go to Utahmarijuana.org/podcast. You can see all of the podcast episodes we’ve done and recorded recently. If you want to go back to legislative podcasts, the interview with Brad Daw was put out just a couple of weeks ago. And we look forward to hearing more from Jennifer Dailey-Provost in House District 24. Stay up to date-

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Can I add one more pitch?

Tim Pickett:
Yes.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
I’m always anxious to hear about patients’ experiences and how we can do it better so, please … My email is on the legislative website. Please reach out and help keep me educated.

Tim Pickett:
Absolutely. The legislative website what … How do we find that?

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
LE.utah.gov, and then you hover over the House and it will go to House roster, and you scroll down to District 24. They’re in order by House districts. And it has my picture, and my email, and my cell phone number on it.

Tim Pickett:
Okay, great. And if you have trouble with that you can reach out to us as well and we’ll get the information over. Thanks again for coming.

Jennifer Dailey-Provost:
Thanks for having me. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. Appreciate what you do.

Tim Pickett:
All right, everybody, stay safe out there.

 

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