52 sickened by bogus marijuana extract oil causing warning from CDC

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SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A synthetic marijuana extract made 52 people sick drawing the attention of the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The illnesses occurred over the winter and the CDC is now asking states to regulate marijuana oil extracts.

The CDC report released last week noted that half of the 52 people tested positive for either a synthetic compound called 4-CCB or Yolo CBD oil.

Troy Turnbow is a volunteer with the Salt Lake Mission.  He was around when many in the homeless population became sick from the synthetic cannabis oil.

“They were having seizures and starting to lose focus,” said Turnbow.

Jack Wilbur, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture, said the state is moving in that direction of regulation.  In this instance, they are currently writing the rules to allow a low-grade, non-hallucinogenic synthetic oil for medicinal purposes.

“The CBD oils that are derived from the hemp plant or cannabis plant will be legally available,” Wilbur said.  “The products will be registered and labeled for sale in our state.”

A cannabis advocacy group said the black market synthetic oils are a reason why their initiative will make it safer for the public.

The group called TRUCE is supporting a possible ballot initiative for medicinal marijuana.

“It will allow patients to have access to products that are regulated and tested for not just potency but also … oils that aren’t supposed to be in there, things like synthetics, spice,” said Justin Arriola.

Friday, Arriola’s group will know if their initiative proposal will be certified by the state.  If so, the public will vote this fall whether the sale of medicinal marijuana should be allowed in Utah.

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