Mormon Church

Michael Whiffen

Cannabis Advocates Threaten Lawsuit in Utah for Church Meddling

The Utah cannabis advocacy group Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) is threatening to sue lawmakers and the Mormon Church if Utah’s recently-passed medical cannabis initiative is not implemented as written, according to FOX 13 Salt Lake City.

Utah voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 2, the ballot initiative that legalized medical cannabis, in this month’s general election.

Before ballots were cast, however, the initiative’s primary sponsors, the Utah Patient’s Coalition and the Libertas Institute, entered talks with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints and Utah lawmakers about a compromise bill to ensure medical cannabis would be legalized no matter the election’s outcome.The compromise bill would reportedly remove or change some of the initiative’s language to better satisfy lawmakers and the Mormon Church.

TRUCE, however, took issue with the power that the LDS Church has over the matter. The organization’s attorney served everyone involved a “preservation letter” indicating they should keep records in case of a future lawsuit.

“We are investigating a legal challenge to (1) the calling of a special session of the Utah Legislature at the behest of The Church of Jesus Christ; (2) any effort, in collusion with or at the behest of The Church of Jesus Christ, to materially alter the initiative statute supported by a majority of voters who passed Proposition 2 in the recent election; and (3) the long-term pattern of domination of the Utah Legislature and the interference in the functions of Utah government by The Church of Jesus Christ.” — Excerpt from the preservation letter

TRUCE said they’re deciding if it would be feasible to file suit should lawmakers replace voter-approved Prop. 2 with the compromise bill. TRUCE demands that Prop. 2 be implemented as originally written.

The President of the Libertas Institute, Connor Boyack, defended the compromise bill. He said 90 percent of Prop. 2’s original provisions would remain in the bill and claimed the compromise prevented lawmakers from otherwise gutting the voter initiative.

The Utah legislature is expected to enter into a special session on December 3 to address the medical cannabis initiative and possibly pass the compromise bill.

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