The Mormon Church (AKA The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS) is joining lawmakers and the governor of the state of Utah to support a deal to legalize medical marijuana, even if a legalization initiative that's on this November's ballot ends up failing.
This is the first time to my knowledge the Mormon Church has made a statement supporting medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy.
I'm a Utah resident and a cancer survivor, and I'm writing this from my home in Utah.
I found real medical benefit from cannabis during my treatment for breast cancer. The deal described in today's news (I haven't seen the text yet) is great progress for all Utahns, especially for those with cancer and other serious illnesses. The LDS previously shunned any and all cannabis use. This deal isn't enough, IMO, because marijuana smoking would still be illegal. Whole flower combustion has its benefits, and it is a valid method of ingesting cannabis for medical purposes.
The ballot proposal only allows edibles, topical lotions, or vaping (electronic cigarettes or ecigs or vapes). No smoking.
But this is huge progress. It's a start.
From the Associated Press:
The compromise comes as people prepare to vote in November on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative that held its ground despite opposition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Gov. Gary Herbert said he'll call lawmakers into a special session after the midterm election to pass the compromise into law regardless of how the initiative fares. If it passes, it will be revised under the terms of the deal. It if fails, the Legislature would consider a law under the new framework.
The agreement in such a conservative state underscores the nation's changing attitude toward marijuana. Medical use now is legal in more than 30 states and also is on the November ballot in Missouri. So-called recreational marijuana goes before voters in Michigan and North Dakota. If passed, it will be a first for a Midwestern state.
The Utah-based faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to more broad use, but ranking global leader Jack Gerard said they're "thrilled" to be a part of the effort to "alleviate human pain and suffering."
Though it still must go to a vote, the deal has the key backing of both the church and leaders of the Republican-dominated Legislature, who said the regulations in the hard-won agreement have their seal of approval. Unlike the ballot initiative, the compromise won't allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary. It also doesn't allow certain types of edible marijuana that could appeal to children, like cookies and brownies.
"I will do everything in my power to ensure this compromise passes in the special session," said Utah Senate president Wayne Niederhauser.
Medical marijuana advocates are backing the deal to avoid wrangling and uncertainty that could continue if the ballot initiative passes.
"There will be medical cannabis here in our day in Utah," said advocate DJ Schanz. The two sides agreed to scale back media campaigns supporting and opposing the ballot measure known as Proposition 2.