The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official statement regarding the proposed medical marijuana initiative in Utah.
According to the statement, “The negative effects and consequences of marijuana use on individuals, families and society at large are well-known. There are also those who claim that it has medicinal benefits for those in some circumstances.”
The Church asked a local Salt Lake Law firm to provide a legal analysis of the proposed initiative if it is adopted this fall in the upcoming election. They attached a copy of the Kirton and McConkie Memorandum and invite all to read the document and “make their own judgement” regarding the proposed initiative.
The memorandum addresses 31 legal issues that would arise if voters approve the legal use of medical marijuana in Utah. Issues brought to light by the memorandum show holes in the proposed law change included largely unregulated dispersal of the drug to users.
According to Kirton and McConkie, the initiative doesn’t require persons to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana. An individual would be able to obtain a medical cannabis card valid for six-months unless the physician determines a shorter time. A physician is not required by the initiative to prescribe a specific dosage of the drug and disregard to the person’s condition and its severity is present.
They also share insights in how the initiative will affect minors and their ability to obtain marijuana. Sections 26-60b-201(2)(b) and 26-60b-105(1) of the initiative require no lower age limit of the issuing of a prescription cannabis card if they have a qualifying condition.
Reviewing a 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the memorandum said the initiative will make marijuana more accessible to minors. It shares a statistics that use of marijuana is higher among children aged 12-17 (and adults ages 18-25) is significantly higher in states who already legalized recreational and medicinal use of cannabis.
In response to the Church’s statement, Utah Patients Coalition initiative campaign director DJ Schanz told Deseret News, “Current law has ‘serious adverse consequences’ for thousands of sick patients who are either illegally using cannabis to improve their health or those who want to but suffer to obey the law.”
The Utah Patients Coalition is an organization promoting and leading the medical cannabis program for residents of the state of Utah suffering from conditions covered under the proposed initiative.
According to Mormon Newsroom, the Church does not endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms. The mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a 2016 letter issued by the First Presidency, they advise all Latter-day Saints “to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering. Along with the options available to you through the Internet, debates, and other sources.”