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LDS Church considers its position on medical marijuana referendum



Proponents of a campaign to expand access to medical marijuana in Utah say they met with representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on this issue.

Christine Stenquist with Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) said she had had several meetings with Church representatives.

"They play very close to the chest," Stenquist said. "They took the information, but they did not tell us which way to go."

A church spokesman said they have no official position on this measure. The church has demanded more research on the medical use of marijuana. In 2016, when Utah's legislature passed two competing bills to legalize medical cannabis, the church supported the tighter proposal. None of the bills exceeded the legislature.

Stenquist said in her meetings with church officials that they voiced concerns about members and financial support for electoral initiatives.

"We raised these concerns, which is a very down-to-earth grassroots movement," she said.

"I think her concern was that it was a recovery," Stenquist said. "The language in the electoral initiative does not point to it and does not give anyone reason to believe that."

Recent polls show that two-thirds of active Mormons support the legalization of medical marijuana, but the church could influence voters if they violate the initiative

Gov. Gary Herbert said on Thursday that he opposes the electoral decision in favor of new laws that legalize medical cannabis only for terminally ill patients.

The Utah Patients Coalition is the group that conducts the election initiative. Campaign director DJ Schanz said he had "two or three" private meetings with church officials.

"I hope that we will continue to work with the LDS Church in a way that we were," Stenquist said, adding that she is being talked to active church members who prefer medical marijuana to opioids and other medicines against chronic diseases.

To reach a poll, groups must collect more than 1

13,000 signatures representing 10 percent of registered voters in a majority of Utah

The Utah Patients Coalition has submitted more than 150,000 signatures to the office of the Lieutenant Governor for review, and Schanz is confident that the question will be raised at the vote in November.

"We will continue to collect Signed until the last minute" until April 15, "said Schanz.


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