By: Kyle James | 10-05-2018 | News
Photo credit: @KBOITV | Twitter

Mormon Church Backs Medical Marijuana Deal In Utah

In a first for churches in America, the Mormon church has officially backed medical marijuana in a move that seems to against the church's strict policies on mind or body altering substances. The church even has rules against using products that contain substances as mellow as caffeine. The Mormon church joined with Utah lawmakers, the governor, and marijuana advocates to back a deal that would allow weed to be legalized for medical use..

The strange announcement comes as the state prepares to vote on an insurgent medical marijuana ballot initiative in November. The initiative had held its ground despite opposition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at first. The state's governor Gary Herbert said he'll be calling lawmakers to a special session after the midterm election to pass the compromise into law whether or not the initiative is successful.

The move would bring the state forward to join a growing majority of states to legalize marijuana for medical use. If the initiative passes, it will still face further revision under the terms of the deal and even if it fails the Legislature would still create a law to legalize it under the new framework.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Mormon church (LDS) will back a deal to allow medical marijuana in Utah. Smoking would remain illegal. Vape, topicals, edibles only. <br>This cancer patient says: It&#39;s a start. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Xeni Jardin (@xeni) <a href="">October 4, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Related coverage: <a href="">Canada - Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill</a>

The move by the Mormon church to back the deal signifies a larger relaxation of the nation's attitude toward marijuana, especially for medical use. The plant is now allowed to be used for medical purposes in over 30 states and legalization is also on an upcoming ballot in Missouri. Michigan and North Dakota are also set to be voting on recreational marijuana and if it passes it will be the first for a Midwestern state.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Utah-based faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to more broad use, but ranking global leader Jack Gerard said they’re “thrilled” to be a part of the effort to “alleviate human pain and suffering.”<a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) <a href="">October 5, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The Mormon church, or as they like to be referred to as now "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", was against the ballot at first over fears it would lead to broader use. It is not clear what brought about the church leader's change of heart but ranking global leader Jack Gerard said they're "thrilled" to be a part of the effort to "alleviate human pain and suffering." Those with debilitating illnesses and other ailments shouldn't get too excited yet, the initiative still must go to vote.

The deal has backing from both church leaders and the Republican-dominated Legislature who say they approve of the agreement. The compromise won't allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary but the ballot initiative would. It also doesn't allow certain types of edible marijuana products either that appeal to children such as candy, cakes, or brownies.

Related coverage: <a href="">US Government Claims Cannabis Can Safely Kill Cancer Cells</a>

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said, "I will do everything in my power to ensure this compromise passes in the special session. Medical marijuana advocate DJ Schanz said, "There will be medical cannabis here in our day in Utah." Both sides agreed to scale back on the media campaigns supporting the ballot measure Proposition 2 as well as those that are opposing it.

The agreement doesn't have everyone convinced, Christine Stenquist with the group Truce said she is skeptical about the deal said support for the ballot proposal is still needed. The ballot proposal would not allow marijuana to be smoked but it would allow edible forms and other products such as lotions and electronic cigarettes.

Despite The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' previous opposition to the ballot, the church leaders made their own public endorsement in support of the use of medical marijuana. They spoke in support of using when it is prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a legal pharmacy.

Related coverage: <a href="">Mormon Bishop Sam Young Ex-Communicated For Seeking To End "Youth-Interviews"</a>

The voices of the church's leaders carry more weight than the church in its home state which continues to oppose legalization locally. The church even forbids the substance in its health code called the "Word of Wisdom" which ban the use of everything from coffee to alcohol and cigarettes.

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