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Marijuana Experts Gather For Utah’s First Medical Cannabis Convention

Utah Cann expo
Rocio Hernandez/KUER
Heather Lawrence (right) speaks with an attendee at Utah Cann.

What does hemp oil do and how much of it should you take? Those were some of the questions posed at the inaugural Utah Cann medical cannabis conference that opened Friday in Sandy.

Salt Lake City Weekly publisher John Saltas, who helped put on the event, said the goal is to arm voters with knowledge ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

“Utahns have been wrongly kept in the dark about what the truth is about medical cannabis and it’s time that Utahns had the opportunity to wake up themselves, and come and find out for themselves and see for themselves the benefits of medical cannabis,” Saltas said.

Heather Lawrence, a vendor at Utah Cann, is a self-described cannabis activist from Kaysville, Utah. Many of her friends and family use cannabis products on a regular basis.

Lawrence started making her own products to treat her arthritis, tendonitis and carpal tunnel because the medications she was using were making her sick, she said.

“With hemp oils, I was able to have a personal victory of letting go of 17 pharmaceutical products that I was taking just to function every single day,” Lawrence said, who co-owns a company called Restored Balance.

She said the products that she sells do not contain THC, the active psychoactive component in marijuana, so her customers will not get “high” by using the products.

Saltas said he and other organizers remain confident that the citizen-led ballot initiative Proposition 2, which would broaden access to medical marijuana in Utah, will pass next month.

And plans for a 2019 conference are already in the works.

“This is the tip of the iceberg of cannabis education in Utah,” he said. “There is so much more depth to it and it cannot be distilled into, ‘Oh, it’s bad.’ There’s just too much at stake.”

Rocio is coming to KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.
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