US regulators delay Utah study of cannabis effects on pain

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Utah’s plan to study the effects of medical marijuana on pain has been delayed because of slow approval from the federal government to ship supplies to state researchers. The study was originally expected to be completed by March.

The Utah roadblock is the latest example of the federal government hindering cannabis research.

Such delays led Sens. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, and Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, to call on U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions to stop obstructing marijuana research requests.

Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative, told the Deseret News she hopes the cannabis will arrive from its U.S.-government approved source within a few weeks. However, the study could take four months.

The delay means research findings likely won’t be available as had been hoped before Utahns cast their votes on an MMJ ballot initiative in November.

A coalition of medical associations, law enforcement agencies and religious groups recently dropped a lawsuit challenging the Utah initiative, but continue to lobby against the measure.  The Mormon church also has spoken out against legalizing medical marijuana.