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As the Utah State Legislature considers two bills on the use of medical marijuana, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statements outlining its position.

Church Statement Issued Friday, February 12, 2016

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 medical use of compounds found in marijuana. For that reason, although the Church opposes SB 73, it has raised no objection toSB 89. 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.

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 (see the AMA policy below) that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are advanced. For these reasons, the Church urges a cautious approach.

American Medical Association Policy – H-95.952 Cannabis for Medicinal Use

(1) Our AMA calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy and the application of such results to the understanding and treatment of disease. (2) Our AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product. (3) Our AMA urges the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a special schedule and implement administrative procedures to facilitate grant applications and the conduct of well-designed clinical research involving cannabis and its potential medical utility. This effort should include: a) disseminating specific information for researchers on the development of safeguards for cannabis clinical research protocols and the development of a model informed consent form for institutional review board evaluation; b) sufficient funding to support such clinical research and access for qualified investigators to adequate supplies of cannabis for clinical research purposes; c) confirming that cannabis of various and consistent strengths and/or placebo will be supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigators registered with the DEA who are conducting bona fide clinical research studies that receive FDA approval, regardless of whether or not the NIH is the primary source of grant support. (4) Our AMA believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions.(CSA Rep. 10, I-97; Modified: CSA Rep. 6, A-01; Modified: CSAPH Rep. 3, I-09; Modified in lieu of Res. 902, I-10; Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 523, A-11; Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 202, I-12; Reaffirmed: CSAPH Rep. 2, I-13)

Church Statement Issued Friday, February 5, 2016

As we have said during previous legislative sessions, there are a number of potential impacts that must be considered in any discussion about the legalization of medical marijuana, including balancing medical need with the necessity of responsible controls.

Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana. We have expressed opposition to [SB 73] because of that concern. We are raising no objection to the other bill that addresses this issue.