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LDS Church expresses ‘grave concerns’ on medical marijuana

SALT LAKE CITY– The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a statement Friday afternoon referencing a legal opinion expressing ‘grave concerns’ over the medical marijuana initiative set to be decided by Utah voters this fall.  Here is the full statement issued through a church spokesman:

“The proposed Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative is a matter of great controversy in this state. 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.

Accordingly, the Church asked a Salt Lake City law firm for a legal analysis of the proposed initiative to be submitted to the voters next fall. We wanted to know what the initiative would actually do, if adopted.  The law firm’s memorandum with its analysis follows. That memorandum raises grave concerns about this initiative and the serious adverse consequences that should follow if it were adopted. We invite all to read the attached memorandum and to make their own judgment.”

The 31 point was issued by Salt Lake law firm Kirton McConkie and highlights several of their concerns including: a system that makes it too easy to buy or grow marijuana, difficulty for local law enforcement to differentiate between legal and illegal marijuana users, risk of federal prosecution or deportation for locals using marijuana and dispensaries that are too close to schools, churches and parks.

You can read the full seven page memo here.

In response to the church’s announcement, Utah Patients Coalition director DJ Schanz released a statement saying their initiative is very conservative compared to other states, preserves the doctor-patient relationship, and ensures that Utahns using medical marijuana within the initiative’s terms will be safe from criminal punishment.

“We anticipate a healthy debate in the public square about the merits of the Utah Medical Cannabis Act leading up to November’s vote,” said DJ Shanz, director of the Utah Patients Coalition, in a statement. “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.”

Read the full memo here.