Medical marijuana laws continue to confuse Utah citizens as the government want to help sick patients as well as support the states religious beliefs.
As two very different bills aimed at making medical marijuana available to Utahns make their way through the Utah Legislature, both medical and religious leaders are urging lawmakers to pass cautious and research-driven legislation.
The two bills, SB73 by Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, and SB89 by Sen Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, have drawn the attention of the Utah Medical Association, which is concerned about controls and distribution of products it says are still in need of research for their medical benefits.
“There’s a national movement,” to legalize medical marijuana, said William Hamilton, president of the Utah Medical Association, with more than 20 states so far choosing to do so. “But we think there’s too big of a rush to legalize this potentially very dangerous drug.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has similar concerns and Friday issued a statement detailing “access, distribution, control” as principal concerns for opposing Madsen’s bill, while not opposing nor endorsing Vickers’ bill or the responsible pursuit of medical treatments associated with marijuana.
“While we are not in a position to evaluate specific medical claims, the church understands that there are some individuals who may benefit from the use of compounds found in marijuana,” said church spokesman Eric Hawkins. “For that reason, although the church opposes SB73, it has raised no objection to SB89. These two competing pieces of legislation take very different approaches when it comes to issues like access, distribution, control and the potential harm of the hallucinogenic compound, THC.”
The church statement continued: “In addition to the therapeutic, treatment, and control questions, there are several other important issues to be resolved. At the forefront is that the use of medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law. We agree with groups such as the American Medical Association, who have said that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are advanced. For these reasons, the church urges a cautious approach,” Hawkins said.
Read the entire in-depth Deseret News report here.