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OPINION: church leaders and medical marijuana


SALT LAKE CITY — Proposition 2, a heated ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, is generating a lot of debate and strong opinions on all sides of the issue.

In part one of a two-part series, Dave & Dujanovic welcomed leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the KSL Newsradio studio to hear their point of view.

The church has said it would like to see medical marijuana in the hands of those who have really been suffering. However, church officials say there’s a better way to do it than Proposition 2.

Church leaders Elder Craig Christensen and Sister Lisa Harkness sat down for an exclusive interview with Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic.

Church leaders: Prop. 2 goes too far

Sister Lisa Harkness and Elder Craig Christensen. (Photos: Facebook / Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

“Our position is to support the use of medical marijuana,” Elder Christensen told Dave & Dujanovic. The church, he explained, wants medical marijuana. But he says that Proposition 2 goes too far. “There are some aspects that are quite concerning.”

Under Proposition 2, he says, there just aren’t enough safeguards in place to make sure that the marijuana doctors prescribe really is being used medicinally. “They don’t hold medical doctors responsible in any liability way for prescribing marijuana to anyone.”

If the current proposition passes, records of marijuana sales will be held for no more than 60 days. He’s worried that’ll make it too easy for cannabis to get into the hands of people who don’t really need it.

Sister Harkness voiced her worries about how Proposition 2 would affect Utah’s communities and the families that live in them.

“The dispensaries will be able to sell medical marijuana within 300 or 600 feet of a school or a neighborhood,” she says. “That’s a little concerning, especially when they can hand out free samples.”

An Urgent Need For Informed Marijuana Legislation

A marijuana harvester examines buds going through a trimming machine near Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

Even though they aren’t happy with Proposition 2, Elder Christensen and Sister Harkness told Dave & Dujanovic that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to see medical marijuana legislation that works as soon as possible.

“For any parent that’s dealing with someone that has a significant medical challenge, you want to find relief, and waiting even a day or a week or a month more is very, very, difficult,” Sister Harkness says. “We understand that urgency.”

“We just think that there’s a better way to get medical cannabis into hands that really need them,” Elder Christensen agrees. “We think Utah can lead and show the rest of this country how to do this the best way.”

They encourage everyone to read the full proposition for themselves before casting their votes on November 6th.

More to the story

Thursday, Dave & Dujanovic will interview supporters of Proposition 2, who will be on KSL Newsradio to explain why they believe this bill is the right approach for medical marijuana in Utah.

Listen to KSL’s full interview with Elder Christensen and Sister Harkness:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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