‘Political Insiders’ split on how LDS Church opposition will affect medical cannabis proposal

The proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Utah looks like a lock to make November’s ballot. Recently the LDS Church signaled their opposition to the proposal. Our “Political Insiders” are not sure how much of an effect that opposition will have on the initiative in November.

The most recent UtahPolicy.com survey finds 77% of Utahns support legalizing medical marijuana. 

However, the LDS Church voiced that they would likely oppose the ballot initiative when they issued a statement in support of the Utah Medical Association’s stance in opposition to the legalization measure. 

Our “Political Insiders” differ on how much that opposition will hurt the proposal when it goes before voters in November.

  • 80% of the Republicans on our panel said the Church’s opposition would hurt the ballot initiative.
  • 56% of the Democrats who answered our survey said the Church’s stance would not hurt the effort to legalize medical cannabis.
  • 56% of our readers thought the Church standing in opposition to the proposal would hurt the initiative’s chances of passing.


Selected anonymous comments:

It’s gonna get ugly.

As people begin to do a deep dive on this issue, they will find that it is more complicated and potentially troubling than it appears.

I think the polling is off on this and people will say they support it just to be en vogue. I do think the LDS Church’s position will lead people to vote no.

I think it passes, but the Church position will have an impact, making it a much closer outcome.

If the initiative acquires enough signatures to be on the ballot, the LDS Church’s position will affect some voters, but may not deter its passage.

People are looking for alternatives to opioid use in pain management. Medical cannabis is one way compassionate care can be shown to those suffering. The Church has not opposed medical use in any other state. As long as the initiative states for medical, not recreational use, it will be supported.

If community leaders really want to address our opioids deaths and horrible addictions, help treat our veterans and first responders with PTSD, and give research universities and medical doctors state support to expand on volumes of international medical research already documented, then support the medical cannabis initiative.

Maybe not enough to defeat it, but it will definitely hurt its chances for passage. It all depends on how active the LDS church leadership is in opposing the initiative.

LDS Church and Governor Herbert will cost the initiative 10-20 points. But it will still pass.

I still think it passes, but the support won’t be over 70%.

Bigots who hate religion will falsely claim that members of the LDS Church follow every statement, but the fact is many members have already made up their minds on this either supporting or in opposition. A public statement does not change deeply held personal morals and values. If the initiative falls, it’s because polls were misleading and unclear, not because of a recent public statement.

Combined with Governor Herbert, Utah Medical Association and others who oppose it voters will be faced with who to trust the coalition in favor or the coalition against. The initiative sponsors made a calculated risk when they added provisions that gave the initiative recreational marijuana elements. Now it looks like that may backfire.

The Church has no business weighing in on this.

Depends on how strong the church opposition is. The current statement won’t have an impact. If they pull out all the stops, it could.

I don’t think most Mormons consider the use of medical cannabis as a moral issue. It seems to most that it is preferable to alcohol, smoking, or abuse of prescription pills to get relief from chronic pain or anxiety.

It’s intriguingly refreshing to see members exert their free agency regarding this question. The Church’s opposition will likely temper some folks from supporting the initiative, but I think at the end of the day, the initiative will prevail.

It may affect some of the outcomes, but the initiative will prevail overall. I think even members of the church recognize that it is anything but compassionate and loving to our sick neighbors to take the position that it’s better for them to go to jail for seeking relief from their suffering than to invite them to come out of the shadows and be able to legally obtain the medicine they need. More and more people realize those are really the only two choices as long as medical cannabis remains illegal: Suffer with no relief in sight or risk going to jail and having the state take your children–and that that is an unacceptable bind in which to put patients who are legitimately ill.

The current church statement wasn’t strong enough to kill it, so if they stick with that, then it will probably still pass. If they come out and say something similar to what the governor said then that is a different ballgame.

Having heard more of the specifics of the initiative, I believe it is a recreational use initiative hiding behind the pretense of medical use.

I personally agree with the LDS Church’s opposition to the initiative. That may make some voters to decide to vote against the initiative. We need to err on the side of caution before we make this potentially dangerous substance available. More research needs to be done. Proper dosages need to be calculated. Will all of the drug produced have the same potency? I have questions. I still need answers.

I think when people realize this is 27 pages of new Law instead of two lines of do you support people in medical need using medicinal marijuana? The initiative will fail.

It will definitely lower the percentage, but I think people are kind enough to realize that fearmongering about “unintended side effects” isn’t worth refusing to help people with treatable illnesses.

LDS Church leadership is out of step with their own members on this one.

It is a simple matter of reading and informing Utahns about what is actually IN the initiative.Give it some time, but the more people learn about the initiative, the more they will turn against it. Utahns want medical cannabis, not an initiative selling itself that way full of ways to be exploited and unintentionally legalize recreational cannabis use.

I am LDS and fully support medical cannabis. I would support full legalization of cannabis. Church and State are suppose to be separate. Sadly it seems Utah politicians are unable to separate their beliefs and what the citizens of Utah want.

I am not against medical marijuana, however, I think it should be tested more thoroughly.

We need science to dictate this initiative, not faith or faith-based opinions.

It will definitely have an impact but may not be enough to defeat the measure. I believe the Church’s stance isn’t so much against medical cannabis as it is against a very poorly worded initiative that is only a half a step away from the monumental mistake of recreational marijuana.

The Church can kill it if they work hard in opposition.

The opposition will certainly hurt the proposal. Nobody can predict at this point whether it will hurt enough to defeat it. Considering the “light” nature of the statement, just commending the UMA without anything more direct, I wouldn’t expect to see anything else from North Temple. The wildcard is whether individual leaders of LDS congregations “go rogue” and ask their members to vote against it (or to take their names of the petition). And the statement “may” have been issued simply to give those local leaders some motivation/cover to “go rogue.” Unless North Temple issues a directive to local leaders NOT to do that, then it certainly will be the result of the statement.

I feel the LDS church has no business in this debate. It’s not a spiritual issue.

I think the Church’s opposition will actually increase voter turn out in favor of the initiative.

I don’t think that the church should have a say as to someone’s medial issues and how they address those issues. If they are prescribed medical cannabis that should be between them and their doctor. Not them, their doctor and the LDS Church. There are some things the church should stay out of.

Unfortunately, I think it will affect the outcome. Sometimes, we as members believe that the church is right about every issue and therefore we don’t research and form our own opinions. I wish we were better at thinking for ourselves and recognize that some issues that the church has an opinion on are not revelation guided and do not affect our salvation.