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Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program Battle Heats Up

The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (aka LDS or Mormon) has published a laundry list of concerns over  a potential medical cannabis program in the state.

LDS reports it engaged a Salt Lake City law firm to carry out a legal analysis of the initiative, which may appear on the ballot in November 2018 for voting on by Utahns assuming the numbers remain to support it.

“That memorandum raises grave concerns about this initiative and the serious adverse consequences that could follow if it were adopted,” says the Church.

Among the concerns/issues it says were identified:

  • There will be insufficient monitoring of home-grows.
  • Those who grow their own marijuana will be able to evade purchase and use limits.
  • The program will create significant challenges for law enforcement.
  • Sales will occur through dispensaries rather than pharmacies.
  • Destruction of sales records after 60 days will hamper law enforcement.
  • Free samples will encourage marijuana use.
  • A large proportion of Utahns will be able to get a medical cannabis card.
  • Criminals with drug offences will be able to get cards.
  • The rules are too loose for qualifying conditions.
  • No previous relationship with a referring physician is necessary.
  • Doctors will be able to refer a high percentage of their patients.
  • Physicians will not need to be trained in the effects of marijuana or the illness to be treated.
  • Prescriptions will not be required.
  • Monitoring of medical effects on patients is not required.
  • It prohibits accountability for physicians.
  • Use by minors will be permitted .
  • Most users will be younger people.
  • Possession would be legal before receipt of card.

.. and a dozen more legal issues, all of which can be viewed in more detail here, along with the original memorandum from the law firm that undertook the analysis.

UPDATE: Libertas Institute has published a point-by-point rebuttal of the law firm’s analysis.

As for Church members, there seems to be significant support for medicinal cannabis. Last year we published the results of a survey indicating 63 percent of LDS members self-described as active in the Church support its use for specific diseases and/or pain relief. Support among “somewhat active” LDS members was significantly higher – 80.15%.

However, no-one should have any doubt as to the clout LDS has in Utah, which is a Mormon stronghold both in terms of residents and political representation.

In other related news, Utah Patients Coalion has claimed The Eagle Forum and the Utah Medical Association (UMA) have create a new entity called Drug Safe Utah  to oppose the ballot initiative.

“Currently, their efforts are focused on removing signatures to invalidate the issue being placed on the ballot,” stated the Coaltion earlier this month. “We are getting numerous reports of the lies and misinformation being told to people at their doors to get them to remove their signature.”

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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