LDS church speaks on Utah medical marijuana ballot initiative

Temple Square consists of the Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall and two visitors' centers, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – With the filing earlier this week of a medical marijuana ballot initiative that seeks to put the question of legalization before Utah voters in 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, has since weighed in on the issue.

The church often speaks outs concerning “issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences.” The issue of medicinal marijuana is no different.

While the church asked members to vote down recreational marijuana ballot initiatives in Arizona and Nevada in 2016, it urged a “cautious approach” to the subject of medicinal use as the Utah Legislature looked at the issue during the 2017 legislative session.

Read more: Medical marijuana advocates file 2018 ballot initiative

As for the 2018 ballot initiative, LDS church spokesperson Eric Hawkins issued the following statement:

Isolated cannabis buds, stock image | St. George News

Lawmakers across the country have wrestled with whether to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety.

During the 2017 legislative session, a bill was passed that appropriately authorized further research of the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana. The difficulties of attempting to legalize a drug at the state level that is illegal under Federal law cannot be overstated.

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.

Supporters of the ballot measure say the research has already been done and that continuing to delay legalization further harms the patients who could otherwise benefit from medical cannabis use.

“The patients cannot wait any longer, so we are proposing a conservative medical cannabis initiative that Utahns across the political spectrum will approve at the ballot box next year,” DJ Schanz, of the Utah Patients Coalition, said during a press conference Monday.

A February poll commissioned Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana reform organization that is supporting the 2018 Utah ballot initiative campaign, showed approximately 73 percent of Utah voters support the ballot initiative.

File: Members of the West Wendover City Council look at marijuana being harvested at Deep Roots Harvest in Mesquite, Nevada. undated | Photo courtesy of Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News, St. George News

The poll claims over 60 percent of those polled identified as active LDS voters.

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an opinion research firm out of Los Angeles, conducted the poll.

The ballot initiative is modeled after a whole-plant medical marijuana bill previously put before the Legislature by former Sen. Mark Madsen, of Saratoga Springs. That bill did not survive the legislative process.

Madsen was present during Monday’s press conference and told Fox 13 News that LDS church members in Utah are in a tough place. Though medical marijuana is legal in surrounding states, it remains illegal within Utah.

As church members are taught that they should “obey the laws of the land” in which they reside, this issue can put a church member’s membership status at risk, Madsen said,

“Can I or can I not go to the temple? Those decisions, I think, are unfair to put a member of the church in,” he said, further adding he hopes the church doesn’t interfere with ballot initiative.

“I think I have about as much business running the church as they do running the state,” he said.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • comments June 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    And yet the church does run the state, and the state has no qualms about being in the liquor business. Mormons are always pushing these voodoo pyramid scheme herbal supplements. I think if mormons thought they could make $$$ selling mj they’d jump at the opportunity. It is just a plant overall. I think the LDS church’s love for oxies and other assorted opioids need to come to an end.

    • comments June 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      *It is just a plant after all

  • Utahguns June 28, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Step out of the way mormons.

  • 42214 June 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    You’re right about the money. If the LSD church can make a profit on this they’ll jump onboard enthusiastically. Their moral beliefs have been for sale for years.

  • hiker75 June 28, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Mesquite is not that far away…

  • concerned dad June 28, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    The LDS church needs to keep their noses out of government. Just keep trying to get third world countries that don’t know any better to join your cult and send their life savings to the church to pay for another useless temple. Medical marijuana changes people’s lives for the better. You can’t stop progress.

    • think4urself June 29, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I totally agree with you!! The church and Eric Hawkins need to keep to themselves and STOP it with forcing their way of living on others just because they have enough members to back them up. Why didn’t they try to stop the legalization in Colorado?? Of course because their influence ring isn’t big there. Shame on them for taking advantage of and using their members. And shame on the members who lobby and take part!! Live your own lives and let others live their’s without the constant forced influence of the church.
      It’s disgusting and I can now see why Utah is so polarized.
      If people can be relieved of pain or other side effects by smoking some joints, dang it they should be able to without feeling guilty!!
      Bottom line is the church is feeling threatened, as they should be. Their teachings and beliefs just can’t keep up with the times and hopefully members will soon enough catch on to the controlling baloney it all really is.

  • utahdiablo June 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Yep, just do a Weed and Liquor run to Mesquite…good luck Utah & AZ law enforcement

  • bigjohn6t9 June 29, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Free the bud, it’s not a Sin to smoke marijuana or use it in any medical way. Now if you’re worried about moral corruption look how many criminals there are in the church and how they cheat people out of their money. And the church protect pedophiles in your local neighborhoods . Nobody is perfect but we are responsible for ourselves we don’t need government or churches saying otherwise .
    I have many your friends and southern Utah good Mormon and Jack Mormon. We live in a country where men and women die for freedom . What to tell you the truth we are anything but free.

  • TheEnigma435 June 29, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I think its ridiculous that the church has to dictate whether people can get the medical help they need i myself was brought up in the church and I believe the church is only dictating this because they believe its type devils lettuce when its cured cancer helped more people than any opiate they can get from a pharmacist even though it says in the bible in the book of Genesis; “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” and in the book of Ezekiel 47:12; And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
    The LDS church is a walking hypocritical child in the sandbox that can’t ever share but can take 10% of your income and say it’ll “pour blessings upon you and your family” but the only people being blessed by it is the church itself. Sorry long rant I just hate how one sided the church is

  • Real Life June 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    And the sheep will keep on saying baa baaaa.

  • radioviking June 30, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Are the members of the LDS able to think for themselves? Mormons, do you seriously NEED your “prophets, seers, and revelators” to explicitly hold your hand on such matters? I thought your first prophet Joseph Smith said something to the effect: “I teach correct principles and let them (the members of the LDS church and community members in Nauvoo, Illinois) govern themselves.” Seems like your modern prophets feel the need to hold your hand on every moral position. If this is this case, you are more reliant and immature than you claim to be.
    A friend tells me that there is even an LDS scripture that reads something like “I, the Lord should not need to command you in all things, for that is slothfulness.” (The Doctrine and Covenants?). Anyway, adult members of the LDS church seem like children who look to a leader to do all their thinking and moral reasoning. Sad. I would not stand for such condescending and meddlesome leadership. I am shocked to see the level of violation between church and state in Utah. Wake up, Utah!!!!

  • An actual Independent July 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I was sent to Utah to make a living. And I will leave the minute I’m able to retire. So tired of living in the People’s Theocracy of Utah.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.