The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published a statement concerning its stance on two pieces of cannabis related legislation currently before the Utah State Legislature.
The Church had come under fire from some corners after reports it was opposing a bill that would allow the medical use of some marijuana products.
The religious institution has clarified this, stating it is simply urging caution and is not entirely opposed to cannabis-based medicine.
“While we are not in a position to evaluate specific medical claims, the Church understands that there are some individuals who may benefit from the medical use of compounds found in marijuana,” says part of a statement from the LDS.
SB73 is concerned with “whole plant” medicine, whereas SB89 is focused on cannabidiol; a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that has shown promise in treating a number of conditions including epilepsy.
SB73 states in part:
“..allows an individual with a qualifying illness who registers with the Department of Health to possess and use, under certain circumstances, cannabis, a cannabis product, or a medical cannabis device;”
“..allows an individual with a qualifying illness who registers with a state electronic verification system to possess and use cannabidiol under certain circumstances;”
… they are very different legislative beasties; with SB89 being far more restrictive.
LDS has a number of concerns, among them is it agrees with the American Medical Association (AMA) that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are made. Many disagree; after all, marijuana has been used by humanity in a medical context for thousands of years.
The impact of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stance should not be underestimated. Most elected officials in Utah are members of the LDS and have a history of voting based on the Church’s views. With that in mind, passing SB89 could be a very good start.
Religion generally is playing a significant role in the issue of medical cannabis. We’ve recently seen the first “kosher cannabis“, heard about Islam’s view on the use of medical marijuana and watched clergy from various denominations in Pennsylvania throw their support behind the medicinal use of the plant.