Utah voters will be voting on a medical cannabis initiative this November. Medical cannabis activists in Utah worked very hard to gather the required signatures in order to get medical cannabis on the ballot. Just as there are in every state, there are suffering patients in Utah that could find relief from using cannabis. It’s worth noting that Utah was the first state to pass a CBD-specific law in 2014.
The CBD-specific law is basically useless. Suffering patients deserve a better medical cannabis law and the 2018 Utah Medical Cannabis Act needs to be passed. As with just about everything in Utah politics, the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) holds a lot of sway with a lot of voters. Because of that, and the medical cannabis initiative on the November ballot, people are wondering where the Mormon Church stands on the issue of medical marijuana?
Leaders of the Mormon Church have made it clear that they do not support the 2018 Utah medical cannabis initiative. “We are deeply concerned by the history of other states that have allowed medical and recreational use of this drug … and have experienced serious consequences to the health of its citizens,” Elder Jack N. Gerard said in August in opposition to the effort, according to the Los Angeles Times.
With that in mind, it was odd when a report came out this week that the Mormon Church is calling for the Utah Legislature to pass a medical cannabis legalization bill by the end of the year. Per Deseret News:
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints want the Utah Legislature to legalize medical marijuana in a special session by the end of 2018.
“We’d like to see it done this year, in a special session this year,” said Marty Stephens, the church’s director of community and governmental relations. “We’d like to see these people that have needs — truly medical needs — we’d like to see them be able to get access to these medications in an appropriate, safe manner.”
I personally think that it’s safe to say that the Mormon Church is not sincere in their calls for medical marijuana legalization in Utah given their opposition to the 2018 Utah Medical Cannabis Act. The church claims that they are not necessarily opposed to medical cannabis altogether, just this year’s initiative. Feel free to re-read the previously cited quote from August from the church that made it clear that they think that medical cannabis legalization leads to ‘serious consequences’ to the health of citizens in medical cannabis states.
My opinion is that the call this week by the Mormon Church for the Utah Legislature to step up is nothing more than a political ploy to try to get voters to vote against the initiative, or not vote at all. I don’t think that it’s a stretch to think that the church is just trying to give voters the false sense that if they just wait for the Utah Legislature, that they will get a comprehensive medical cannabis law in Utah soon.
Utah voters need to realize that the 2018 initiative is the best chance of getting a good medical cannabis law. We have seen what the Utah Legislature has come up with (a useless CBD law), and it’s unacceptable. Polling has been favorable for the initiative, but voters cannot be complacent. Make sure to vote for medical cannabis on Election Day, and urge others to do the same. Suffering patients are counting on you!