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Church Sends Letter to Members About Medical Marijuana Initiative, Issues Statement

On Thursday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent the following letter to Church members. Attached was an official statement about the medical marijuana initiative in Utah.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

In November, Proposition 2, an initiative which would legalize the sale and use of marijuana, will appear on the ballot. Its proponents assert that it will make medical marijuana available to those suffering with debilitating pain and other infirmities. However, in truth it goes much further, creating a serious threat to health and public safety, especially for our youth and young adults, by making marijuana generally available with few controls. 

The Church joins a coalition of medical experts, public officials, and community stakeholders in calling for a safe and compassionate approach to providing medical marijuana to those in need. The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy. 

As a member of the coalition, we urge voters of Utah to vote NO on Proposition 2, and join us in a call to state elected officials to promptly work with medical experts, patients, and community leaders to find a solution that will work for all Utahns, without the harmful effects that will come to pass if Proposition 2 becomes law. 

For more information on Proposition 2 please refer to this legal analysis prepared for the Church by Kirton McConkie. 

Elder Craig C. Christensen

President, Utah Area

The following is the statement on the medical marijuana initiative signed by the Church, Utah Medical Association, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and other religious or community groups:

Medical marijuana is an issue that has generated strong emotions and opinions among proponents and opponents alike. On one hand, initiatives to legalize marijuana in other states have led to increased drug use among youth, higher risk of impaired driving, and an increase in hospital emergency room visits, among other significant public health and safety concerns. On the other hand, patients suffering from debilitating pain and other medical conditions have struggled as traditional treatment strategies have failed to provide relief. The marijuana initiative appearing as Proposition 2 on the ballot this November does not strike the appropriate balance in ensuring safe and reasonable access for patients while also protecting youth and preventing other societal harms. 

We are firmly opposed to Proposition 2. However, we do not object to marijuana derivatives being used in medicinal form—so long as appropriate controls and safeguards are in place to ensure vulnerable populations are protected and access is limited to truly medicinal purposes. Moreover, though continued research into the risks and benefits of medical marijuana use remains paramount, current scientific evidence suggests marijuana contains components that may be of benefit to some patients. 

We urge the voters of Utah to vote no on Proposition 2. We also urge lawmakers, patients, and community stakeholders to work together to find a solution that works for all Utahns. The hallmarks of Utah’s unique policy accomplishments in the past have been civility, compassion, and a spirit of compromise, and we are confident an approach guided by these principles will yield similarly effective policies. 

View the letter and statement here.

Lead image from Wikimedia Commons

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