Sometimes marijuana finds its advocates in places you wouldn’t expect. Such was the case this week when no other than Jon Huntsman Sr. spoke out in favor of medical marijuana in Utah, as state supporters try to change the minds of supporters.
“I’m a very strong advocate for medical marijuana,” Huntsman Sr. told Fox 13. “I think some folks have it terribly confused with smoking marijuana.”
Not only is Huntsman a four-time cancer survivor, he has also suffered from Polymyalgia Rheumatica for the past 10 years. The disorder causes severe shoulder and hip-joint pain. Huntsman admits part of his support comes from understanding the pain associated with medical conditions such as his.
“It’s really severe pain,” he said. “Sometimes you just want to scream out at night because of joints not working and things just breaking down on you.”
Huntsman also took a strong stance against taking opioid for his conditions. The constipation and possibility of kidney failure was enough to scare him away for good. He’d rather take the pain, than the opioids for now.
Huntsman’s comments come at a critical time in Utah’s fight to legalize medical marijuana. The Utah Patients Coalition recently gave the lieutenant’s governor’s office a proposed initiative as the advocacy group attempts to get medical marijuana on the 2018 Election ballot. To do so, they will need to host a number of public hearing and collect close to 115,000 signatures across the state.
In a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune, the coalition noted Huntsman’s support. They stated he “has been a pioneer in advocacy and philanthropy for patient care, so it’s no surprise to us that he supports medical cannabis as another treatment option for physicians and patients.
“Like so many other patients, he recognizes the dangers of opiates and wants an alternative. We appreciate his public support and look forward to giving Utah voters a chance to decide in 2018.”
When asked if Huntsman has tried medical marijuana, he responded he hasn’t. But asked if he would, he responded, “Sure, I’d love to. I’ve had such severe pain at times and the opioids haven’t done the job.”