Mormon Temple, SLC

Aaron Hawkins

On Thursday, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted a news conference where they came out unequivocally against Proposition 2, Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure to be considered by voters in November, according to an LA Times report.

Previously, the Mormon church had only made neutral, carefully considered statements and provided behind-the-scenes funding for the campaign against Proposition 2; the church had not taken a public stance against the measure until now.

“We are deeply concerned by the history of other states that have allowed medical and recreational use of this drug … and have experienced serious consequences to the health of its citizens.” — Elder Jack N. Gerard, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the report

Many in Utah now expect the church to launch a heavy opposition with television and radio ads and increased funding.

A poll from the Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics indicated two-thirds of voters in Utah support Proposition 2. With 60% of the state consisting of Mormons, however, new public opposition from the church may change those numbers.

A campaign filed earlier this month and spearheaded by attorney Walter Plumb, which was based on issues with freedom of religion regarding Proposition 2, is still awaiting a decision from the state court.

Medical cannabis advocate and Mormon DJ Schanz, leader of the proponent campaign for Proposition 2, said the church’s effort “to undermine our efforts to give patients relief is nothing new.”

“We are actually relieved that they are finally doing it in the open rather than behind the scenes. We have great hope that the voters in Utah will side with patients and in favor of compassion and see through the smoke and mirrors surely to follow.” — DJ Schanz, via the LA Times

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