LDS Church Ramps Up Anti-Marijuana Legalization Efforts in Utah
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), ramped up its efforts in the fight against marijuana legalization in Utah this week. Leaders from the church released a public statement implying states that have legalized the drug have experienced “serious consequences.”
The statement was made by Elder Jack N. Gerard during a press conference with politicians, medical professionals, and other church leaders. It marked the first time a leader from the LDS church has spoken publicly about Proposition 2, the marijuana ballot measure that will go before Utah voters in November.
The most recent polls in Utah show that around two-thirds of voters support the ballot measure. However, the church is reportedly planning to launch an anti-marijuana campaign of television and radio ads. With over 60 percent of state residents identifying as Morman, the church has a chance at influencing public opinion before voters reach the polls.
Opponents to Proposition 2, which proposes medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic pain, say it brings the state dangerously close to recreational marijuana. Mormon politicians in Utah including state Gov. Gary R Herbert lead the opposition against the measure.
Another prominent marijuana opponent, local attorney Walter Plumb, filed a lawsuit against the state over the measure earlier this month. Plumb claims Proposition 2 infringes on his freedom of religion due to his strict code of health and abstinence from any mind-altering drugs.
Plumb may be confused about the proposal, which does not require that he or any other state resident use marijuana. The state court has not yet issued a ruling in Plumb's case.