The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as The LDS Church, has issued an official statement regarding the church’s position on ballot initiatives in Utah that would bring a medical marijuana market to the state.
The church’s official position is one of concern, as they find the current amount of research into the plant’s effectiveness as medicine to be inadequate. A spokesman for the LDS Church announced this in a statement with FOX13:
“Accordingly, we believe that society is best served by requiring marijuana to go through further research and the FDA approval process that all other drugs must go through before they are prescribed to patients.”
Internal polls reveal that 73% of Utah residents approve of bringing a medical marijuana program to the state, and it’s reasonable to expect that some of those polled in favor of it are members of the church. The Utah Patients Coalition, the organization behind the campaign for the ballot initiative, has chosen not to make comment about the LDS Church’s position. Instead, their aim is to change the minds of voters with facts.
Head of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (or TRUCE), Christine Steinquist, stated in an interview with FOX13 that supporters of the initiative hope for the church to remain neutral and not provide obstacle to the process should the ballot pass. Utah is another state to be hit drastically by the opiate crisis, and this measure is considered to be a harm-reduction effort.
“We’re talking about saving lives. Utah truly does have an opioid crisis,” Steinquist emphasized.
Former Senator Mark Madsen also hopes for the ballot to pass into law, though he is also quite aware of what a tough position medical marijuana legalization puts members of the church into. Many LDS members worry that ingestion of marijuana for any reason, including as a medical treatment, could put them in dubious standing with the church.
“I think I have about as much business running the church as they do running the state,” Madsen clarified of his position.
Photo by Altus Photo Design