The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, also referred to as Mormon) insists that there are legal issues with the state’s newest medical cannabis ballot initiative.
On Friday, the LDS church released a memorandum in collaboration with law firm Kirton McConkie that took a strong stance against the medical cannabis ballot initiative that is poised to appear on Utah’s November ballot. This memo comes as the second statement from the LDS Church on the subject. Just a month prior, church officials showed support for the Utah Medical Association who insisted the Utah Medical Cannabis Act “would compromise the health and safety of Utah communities.”
What can only be best described as a list of grievances, the newly released seven-paged memo consists of 31 varying objections to Utah’s Medical Marijuana Initiative. Despite the Mormon church having ordered its members to grow hemp multiple times in the past, It appears the church’s main concern now is a need for more restrictions and limitations in regards to legalizing medical cannabis.
Among those reasons listed include an opposition against personal cultivation of cannabis.
“Nothing in the initiative allows [the] State to license or monitor homegrown marijuana operations,” it cites. The document continues to express that the initiative, “will create significant challenges for law enforcement.”
One notable reason given in the memo insists that the initiative, “allows dispensaries to give free samples to medical cannabis cards. This will encourage marijuana use.” Yet, considering the well-known opioid epidemic the nation currently faces, an increase in those treating medical conditions with cannabis could help combat the dependency on opioids as a treatment.
The LDS Church goes on to report that “chronic pain” is essentially too broad of a reason to allow medical cannabis treatment. According to the memo, this condition is “hard to diagnose and verify.”
The cannabis question has become a hot topic in Utah as November approaches. Despite the opposition from The LDS Church and the Utah Medical Association, the Utah Patients Coalition has gathered enough signatures for cannabis legalization to make it on the ballot.
The Mormon Church’s released list of grievances appears to be focused on the need for more restrictions and limitations in regards to legalizing medical cannabis. However, it is important to keep in mind that the church does not represent the opinion of all Mormons as there are an estimated 6,641,886 members of the Mormon church in the United States and 14.8 million worldwide. Utah’s community will have to wait until November to see what voters have to say about the matter.