“Put ‘em up!” is a phrase heard in old Western films from our childhood, not one usually associated with state-approved university-based research projects. But that could change with new legislation coming from the Utah House of Representatives, who will vote on the administrative rules of HB105 this month. According to this article on KSL.com, the bill gives police “complete and unrestricted access” to any industrial hemp seeds and plants grown for research purposes in the Beehive State, and universities may find themselves scrambling for advice of a Salt Lake City asset protection lawyer to find out how best to safeguard their medical, research investments.
The controversial rules around the industrial hemp production were foreseeable, given the variation in climate of the marijuana industry across the U.S. at the moment, but Utah had already decided that the use of hemp-based oil for children with “intractable epilepsy” was demonstrably beneficial enough to allow its legal usage in the state. Okay, so if that was step one, step two would be the cultivation and study of such hemp-based products for medical use, which has been approved for universities in the state. But with a huge, imposing condition: that law enforcement should get unrestricted access.
The whole scenario is tense, loaded with questions of accountability and trustworthiness. Universities are cultivating and studying hemp, “with a concentration of less than .3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, by weight” for academic research, not buds of glory, dude. While law enforcement would likely do little to interrupt or suspend research activities, universities may be wondering whether they should have the advice of a Salt Lake City asset protection lawyer like R. Tee Spjute around, just in case police get handsy or overzealous in their duties.
But do they have a duty to inspect academic research activities? That’s the larger question politicians and police alike are asking. Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) disagrees with the administrative rules giving “complete and unrestricted access” to law enforcement. Not only does it feel intrusive and unnecessary, but the regulations that “a university would have to acknowledge that any information it provides to the Department of Agriculture ‘may be provided to law enforcement agencies without notice,’” is cumbersome and inefficient.
The form of research being conducted at universities in Utah has been allowed under the 2014 Farm Bill, and federal law “also allows state departments of agriculture to conduct pilot programs to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp,” so many are wondering why law enforcement needs to be involved to the degree that the administrative rules would allow. A Salt Lake City asset protection lawyer working with the university could be tasked with determining and defending how much in line with the law the administrative rules may or may not be, so that universities can continue their research.
Lawmakers and enforcement alike might do well to remember that this research was born out of helping children in a medical context. Ask yourself: what is it that we are really afraid of here?