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OPINION: Proposition 2 supporters in studio

OPINION

SALT LAKE CITY — Strong opinions are emerging on all sides of the Proposition 2 ballot initiative that would let voters decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in Utah this fall.

Thursday, supporters of the measure appeared on Dave & Dujanovic to voice their views, a day after the show interviewed representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church’s worries about Proposition 2 are nothing but “pure hysteria”, DJ Schanz told KSL Newsradio.

DJ Schanz, campaign director for the Utah Patients Coalition, and Christine Stenquist, a medical marijuana patient, came to the KSL Newsradio studios to defend Proposition 2, Utah’s proposed so-called “medical marijuana” law.

Proposition 2 isn’t a cannabis “Free-For-All”

DJ Schanz and Christine Stenquist. (Kesley Brunner/Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

Their visit comes right on the heels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints coming out against Proposition 2. The church has criticized the plan, saying that it lacks safeguards to keep marijuana from falling into the wrong hands, while also saying there may be a place for medical marijuana in a different form.

But their complaints, Schanz told KSL, are unfounded. Proposition 2, Schanz says, isn’t “some loosey-goosey free-for-all.”

He rejects criticism that patients will get access to excessive amounts of cannabis. Under Proposition 2, Schanz says, patients are limited to a maximum of four ounces of cannabis every month. If anything, he argues, this isn’t enough.

“It takes a pound of cannabis to make a cannabis oil for a patient for three months. That’s one course of treatment,” Stenquist explained. “We aren’t even giving cannabis patients the required amount.”

The church weighs in

Jack Gerard, center, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks with reporters following a news conference, speaking against Proposition 2 on Aug. 23. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The church’s comments, Schanz says, came as an unpleasant surprise. He calls the decision of certain church leaders to hold press conferences and send e-mails to its members against Proposition 2 an “unprecedented” act.

“Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the face,” Schanz says. “We got punched in the face. It knocked our numbers down.”

Still, Schanz is convinced that Proposition 2 will pass. He believes that, when it comes time to vote, supports of medical marijuana will come out in droves to make their voices heard.

“There’s a huge enthusiasm for the supporters of Prop 2,” Schanz told KSL. “There’s not a lot of anticipation and enthusiasm to get out and vote against epileptic patients.”

Access for everyone

Marijuana, Christine Stenquist says, is “just like any other medication”. (Craig F. Scott/Shutterstock)

Schanz and Steinquist say that that they knew changing Utah’s marijuana laws was never going to be easy.

“90 years of prohibition doesn’t change overnight,” Stenquist admits. “It’s a big boat to turn.”

The Utah Patients Coalition has been working for five years to get to the point when people can come out and cast their votes. To them, Stenquist says, it’s more than just a political issue. It’s an emergency.

“I still use cannabis here in Utah, illegally,” Stenquist admits. Prohibitions against the drug, she says, have forced her to get cannabis by working outside of the law. She sees the vote on November 6th as a chance to change that.

“We’re still in a very good position to pass this bill,” Schanz agrees. If Proposition 2 passes, they say, Utah’s patients will finally have access to a medicine they need.

More to the story

On Wednesday, Dave & Dujanovic interviewed leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who explained why they think that Proposition 2 “goes too far.” Read what they had to say.

Listen to KSL’s full interview with DJ Schanz and Christine Steinquist:

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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