The Utah Legislature has failed most Utahns when it comes to legalizing the non-smoking use of medical marijuana for treatment of several diseases and chronic pain, a new UtahPolicy.com poll shows.
More than three-fourths of adults – 77 percent – “strongly” or “somewhat” favor legalizing medical marijuana, a new survey for the online political newsletter by Dan Jones & Associates finds.
Only 21 percent of Utahns oppose legalization of medical cannabis, while 3 percent don’t know.
Lawmakers in their just-completed 2018 general session declined to legalize medical marijuana in an expanded form but did pass a “right to try” for terminally-ill patients, at their doctor’s request.
GOP Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB195 last week.
A citizen initiative petition on medical cannabis use is moving forward towards the November election. You can read the petition here.
It basically legalizes the use of non-smoking medical marijuana for a variety of serious illnesses and for the relief of chronic pain – under a doctor’s direction.
Also, Jones finds that two-thirds of “very active” Mormons support legalization.
That’s interesting because Mormon leaders have specifically opposed legalizing medical cannabis at this time – meaning 66 percent of very active Mormons are going against the wishes of their own church leaders on the issue.
Thirty percent of active Mormons are opposed.
Mormon leaders – now led by a prophet who was a medical doctor before his church calling – could play a key role in trying to defeat the citizen initiative petition that is likely to come before Utah voters this November.
Church leaders, like the GOP-controlled Legislature, say more research is needed – and Congress should remove the current laws on marijuana prohibition – before it should be allowed in Utah.
Still, the new survey shows that by far most Utahns are tired of waiting for medical marijuana legalization – they want the option of using the plant-based drug now to relieve the suffering in a number of areas.
Many Utahns being treated for cancer say cannabis helped them or loved ones, mainly through reducing nausea accompanying chemo and other therapies.
Support for medical marijuana runs across demographic and religious groups.
Some of Jones’ numbers:
Republicans support legalization, 67-31 percent. This is significant, because their elected state representatives are not doing what they want on this issue.
Democrats support the petition, 91-7 percent.
Political independents support it, 84-13 percent.
Watch the increase in support as one moves from “very conservative” politically to “very liberal:”
-- Very conservative, 65 percent.
-- Somewhat conservative, 70 percent.
-- Moderate politically, 83 percent.
-- Somewhat liberal, 89 percent.
-- Very liberal, 96 percent.
The religious breakdown:
-- Active Mormons support the petition, 66-30 percent.
-- Somewhat active Mormons, 70-25 percent.
-- Mormons who have left their faith, 90-10 percent.
-- Catholics, 79-22 percent.
-- Protestants, 81-19 percent.
-- Those who belong to other faiths, 86-11 percent.
-- Those who said they have no religion, 98-3 percent.
Finally, this is an election year for the Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Three GOP U.S. House members don’t support medical marijuana now – but Rep. Rob Bishop has introduced a bill to allow more research on the drug.
However, Rep. Mia Love in the 4th District does support legalization.
She is in a tight race with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, a Democrat, and it is good Love has come around on the issue, because in the 4th District voters like medical marijuana, 80-16 percent.
Jones interviewed 609 adults from Feb. 9-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.