SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received an email Thursday signed by Elder Craig C. Christensen urging them to vote no on the Utah marijuana ballot initiative.
Earlier in the day, Elder Christensen joined other church leaders at a news conference where a coalition of church, civic, business and law enforcement officials explained their opposition to Proposition 2.
"As a member of the coalition, we urge voters of Utah to vote NO on Proposition 2, and join us in a call to state elected officials to promptly work with medical experts, patients and community leaders to find a solution that will work for all Utahns, without the harmful effects that will come to pass if Proposition 2 becomes law," reads the email from Elder Christensen, a general authority Seventy and president of the Utah Area of the church.
Read the full contents of the email below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In November, Proposition 2, an initiative which would legalize the sale and use of marijuana, will appear on the ballot. Its proponents assert that it will make medical marijuana available to those suffering with debilitating pain and other infirmities. However, in truth it goes much further, creating a serious threat to health and public safety, especially for our youth and young adults, by making marijuana generally available with few controls.
The Church joins a coalition of medical experts, public officials, and community stakeholders in calling for a safe and compassionate approach to providing medical marijuana to those in need. The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy.
As a member of the coalition, we urge voters of Utah to vote NO on Proposition 2, and join us in a call to state elected officials to promptly work with medical experts, patients, and community leaders to find a solution that will work for all Utahns, without the harmful effects that will come to pass if Proposition 2 becomes law.
For more information on Proposition 2 please refer to this legal analysis prepared for the Church by Kirton McConkie.
Elder Craig C. Christensen
President, Utah Area
Statement on Proposition 2
Medical Marijuana Initiative
Medical marijuana is an issue that has generated strong emotions and opinions among proponents and opponents alike. On one hand, initiatives to legalize marijuana in other states have led to increased drug use among youth, higher risk of impaired driving, and an increase in hospital emergency room visits, among other significant public health and safety concerns. On the other hand, patients suffering from debilitating pain and other medical conditions have struggled as traditional treatment strategies have failed to provide relief. The marijuana initiative appearing as Proposition 2 on the ballot this November does not strike the appropriate balance in ensuring safe and reasonable access for patients while also protecting youth and preventing other societal harms.
We are firmly opposed to Proposition 2. However, we do not object to marijuana derivatives being used in medicinal form—so long as appropriate controls and safeguards are in place to ensure vulnerable populations are protected and access is limited to truly medicinal purposes. Moreover, though continued research into the risks and benefits of medical marijuana use remains paramount, current scientific evidence suggests marijuana contains components that may be of benefit to some patients.
We urge the voters of Utah to vote no on Proposition 2. We also urge lawmakers, patients, and community stakeholders to work together to find a solution that works for all Utahns. The hallmarks of Utah’s unique policy accomplishments in the past have been civility, compassion, and a spirit of compromise, and we are confident an approach guided by these principles will yield similarly effective policies.
Utah Medical Association
Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Utah Episcopal Diocese
Utah Hospital Association
Fraternal Order of Police
Family Policy Resource
Utah Narcotics Officers Association
Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake
Latinos in Action
Utah Sheriff's Association
Salt Lake City Police Association
Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Utah Eagle Forum
Utah Society of Anesthesiologists
Family First Foundation
Newquist Group Citizens for Strong Families
American College of Emergency Physicians, Utah Chapter
Wayne Niederhauser—Utah Senate President
Greg Hughes—Speaker of the Utah House
Scott Anderson—President and CEO, Zions Bank
Gail Miller—Owner & Chair of the LHM Group of Companies
Mike Leavitt—Former Governor, Secretary of HHS
David Huntsman, President, Huntsman Foundation
Mitt Romney—Former U.S. Presidential Candidate
Jim Jardine—Lawyer, Education Leader
Kem Gardner—Chairman, Gardner Company
Dave Mallinak, Pastor, Berean Baptism Church, Ogden
Steve Starks—President, Utah Jazz, and LHM Sports & Entertainment
Spencer P. Eccles—Former Exec. Dir. Governor's Office of Economic Development
Nathan Frodsham—Patient Advocate
Aimee Winder Newton—Chair Salt Lake County Council
Kim R. Wilson—Attorney
Enedina Stanger—Patient Advocate
Derek Miller—President and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce
Todd Moon—Patient Advocate
Rev. Gregory Johnson, President of Standing Together
Carlton Christensen—Former Salt Lake City Council Member
Karen Hale—Former Utah State Senator
Ed Kennedy—President, Truth about Prop. 2
Jennifer Brown, DDS—Dentist
"There are a significant number of Utah elected officials and others running for office this year, who have signed the statement. We have chosen not to include their names here," states the letter attached in the email.