Hundreds gathered last Friday and Saturday at the Mountain America Expo Center for Utah Cann, the state’s first-ever medical cannabis conference.
The convention, hosted by City Weekly, allowed entrepreneurs as well as out-of-state businesses to show the potential uses and effects of medical marijuana. Many vendors in attendance arrived from states where the plant is already legal, and look to Utah as the next frontier.
With 31 states now having some form of medicalized marijuana, Utah lies in the minority with almost no legal form of the plant being currently available. Although the ballot initiative Proposition 2 won’t allow users of medical marijuana to smoke the plant, companies are looking for other ways to use it effectively.
Many vendors at Utah Cann were local businesses trying to establish themselves in the upcoming market with oils, vape juice, and ointments.
Many attendees had personal reasons to come support Utah Cann.
“I’ve tried numerous other prescriptions and nothing works as well as cannabis for me,” one man said. This sentiment was shared by many who feel that traditional prescription pills aren’t as effective at treating pain as medical marijuana.
Other participants at the conference included advocacy groups and coalitions.
Advocacy groups are limited to teaching and informing about medical marijuana, while coalitions can urge Utahns to vote in support of Prop 2. Prominent groups at the convention included NORML, The Utah Patients Coalition, and The Epilepsy Association of Utah.
Utah Cann also featured over 50 keynote speakers who claimed to be experts in their fields. Speakers ranged from business moguls, to doctors, to clinical psychologists and talked about the possibilities that legalized cannabis could have in Utah.
Many at the expo spoke about the positive effects medical marijuana could have in terms of treating mental illness. Uses went as far as an alternative therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment for opioid addiction.
One of these professionals was Mandi Stevenson, a therapist who sees cannabis as a useful tool.
“The first record of the drug’s medicinal use dates back to 4,000 B.C.,” she said.
Stevenson pointed to a long history of prohibition causing stigmas over cannabis. It should be noted that Utah was one of the first states to make marijuana illegal.
“The plant was first outlawed in Utah in 1915,” she said.
Utah Cann made sure to clarify that they aren’t telling voters to support Prop 2, but simply educating on the positive effects of medicinal cannabis.