The opposition against MMJ legalization in Utah is mounting as the date for public balloting is getting closer. For instance, the Mormon Church of Latter Saints Day Movement has officially weighed in against the measure. The Church’s elder Jack N. Gerard along with local politicians, other church leaders, and medical professionals has made the announcement in a press conference and urged the voters to vote down the Proposition 2.
Gerard says that they don’t want Utah to follow suit of other 30 states where marijuana has been legalized for therapeutic use. He has also talked about the health implications of legalizing medical and adult-use marijuana. The opposition from the Church has put the future of medical marijuana in the state in great jeopardy since 60 percent of Ohioans are the members of the church.
A crescendo of marijuana opposition
The opposition to possible MMJ legalization in the state has evolved in a gradual manner. It starts with an informal statement issued by church leaders back in April praising Utah Medical Association for its principled stance against the legalization. In the following month, church leaders issued another statement citing law enforcement challenges that would tag along with the implementation of Proposition 2.
Many key figures including Gov. Gary R. Herbert have publically opposed the idea of legalizing marijuana. Walter Plumb, a well-known church leader and an attorney in the state, has even gone to the court against one of the stipulations of the Proposition at the beginning of this month. The lawsuit entails that the proposition 2 would hamper the religious freedom of many individuals.
Church doctrine and the medical use of marijuana
Like the teachings of any Abrahamic religion, Mormonism also directs its members to abstain from consuming alcohol and any other psychoactive substance. Even though the general use of cannabis involves intoxication, but several modes of its medical administrations don’t involve a psychoactive reaction. It is worth mentioning that the Church is silent on the therapeutic use of marijuana. No particular edict has been issued as of yet by any of the church on the use of medical marijuana.
No surprises for cannabis advocates
Marijuana proponents in Utah are not surprised by the opposition coming from the leading church of the state. According to the director of Utah Patient Coalition, a group campaigning for legalizing marijuana for a long time, there is nothing new in the opposition coming from the LDS Church. They are surprisingly pleased that the church has come out in public to oppose the measure instead of maneuvering from the shadow.
He is pinning his hope on the voters to side with MMJ patients out of compassion and would vote yes to the question of medical marijuana legalization in November ballot. Surveys suggest that the majority of Ohioans are in favor of legalizing cannabis for therapeutic use. Nevertheless, only time will tell if this support translates into a win on the voting day. For now, the announcement from Mormon Church will be counted as a setback for the initiative.