In our view, the issue for the Utah Legislature is how to enable the use of marijuana extracts to help people who are suffering, without increasing the likelihood of misuse at a time when drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, especially among youth. Recent changes to SB 73 are a substantial improvement. We continue to urge legislators to take into account the acknowledged need for scientific research in this matter and to fully address regulatory controls on manufacture and distribution for the health and safety of all Utahns.
In addition to the therapeutic, treatment, and control questions, there are several other important issues to be resolved. At the forefront is that the use of medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law. We agree with groups such as the American Medical Association, who have said (see the AMA policy below) that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are advanced. For these reasons, the Church urges a cautious approach.
UPDATE — Church Statement Issued Monday, February 22, 2016
The Church issued this additional statement on Monday, February 22, in response to news media requests:
As the Utah State Legislature considers two bills on the use of medical marijuana, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statements outlining its position.
As we have said during previous legislative sessions, there are a number of potential impacts that must be considered in any discussion about the legalization of medical marijuana, including balancing medical need with the necessity of responsible controls.
“ 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. For that reason, although the Church opposes SB 73, it has raised no objection to SB 89. These two competing pieces of legislation take very different approaches when it comes to issues like access, distribution, control and the potential harm of the hallucinogenic compound, THC,” the statement said.
The bills are expected to be debated on the Senate floor next week.
SALT LAKE CITY — In a new statement issued Friday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified its stance on two competing pieces of medical marijuana legislation being considered by Utah lawmakers.
Senate Bill 73, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, would allow so-called “whole plant” cannabis usage for qualifying patients. Madsen clarified that the bill would only allow medicinal cannabis to be used in forms like oils and gummies. Madsen has said in the past that smoking marijuana would remain illegal.
Read the entire statement issued February 12, 2016 by the LDS Church:
Elder Gerard said states with laissez-faire marijuana policies, such as Colorado, have witnessed increases in teen recreational use, auto fatalities, and other adverse consequences.
From left: Sister Lisa L. Harkness of the Primary General Presidency and General Authority Seventies Elder Jack N. Gerard and Elder Craig C. Christensen speak at a press conference on August 23. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.
“We are in favor of appropriate use of medicinal marijuana, and it’s our view that by calling upon our legislature and local
leaders, we can quickly find an appropriate resolution.” —Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy
“We believe this proposition loses sight of our real purpose, which is to relive pain and suffering, and if passed, could become a slippery slope to unintended uses of marijuana,” he said.
Church leaders are in hopes the Utah Legislature will legalize safe and responsible medical marijuana use in a special session by the end of the year.
“We are one voice in the chorus,” said Elder Gerard.
Elder Christensen said the medical marijuana initiative that will soon be in front of Utah voters does not do enough to protect vulnerable members of the community, including children and teens.