Guest Editorials

The LDS Church and medical marijuana

by Anthony Di Donato

I recently received a very misleading email from the Mormon Church. The email begins by saying that members of the church should be against a particular proposition as it will do more than “help those with debilitating pain, it will cause danger to youth and communities.” They then further say: “The Church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor prescribed, in dosage form, through a licensed pharmacy” — insinuating that this proposition does not include that.

I have looked at the proposition, and this is what it says: “Proposition 2 would require an individual or a parent or legal guardian of a minor who wants to use marijuana for medical purposes to receive a medical card from the Utah Department of Health. Physicians would be allowed to recommend marijuana if the patient has a qualifying illness and may benefit from using marijuana.”

Hmm! So, they must have a prescription and recommendation from a licensed physician, and there is a cap on how much can be given to an individual in a two-week period. I suppose the church could argue that by dose they mean individual use dosing because within those two weeks a patient could potentially receive two ounces of weed. I feel like that argument would not stand though because, although two ounces is a relatively substantial amount, it also exists within a timeframe. Although a casual smoker might take some time to get through two ounces of weed; a person with a serious condition may need to use it more regularly. Not to mention the fact that this is a maximum dosage.

Physicians could easily recommend less, and when I get any sort of pills, they come in a bottle. I do not have to go to the Walgreens daily. Can you imagine if you had to go to your pharmacy daily to pick up your necessary medication, or if you had to pay someone else to do it if you were unable? I suppose someone could consume a portion of their dosage faster than they were supposed to because it wouldn’t kill you (unlike many other synthetic and Pharma alternatives).

I feel like this is not what truly bothers the church and similar organizations in Utah though. The proposition would exempt the sale of medical marijuana from the sales tax. There have also been many statements from organizations and individuals who were either a part of the church or supported by it that say this is simply a stepping stone toward recreational use which is to some capacity true. Some people are probably more inclined to support the proposition, not because of people in need but because they realize it is bringing Utah closer to having their practices legalized.

Paul Mero said in regards to the proposition: “Let me be as blunt as I can: You must be high to think this initiative is a good idea.” But I am not high; I do not smoke weed, so far; it just isn’t my style, but I do believe that those in need especially should have a right to use it safely. Such statements are poisoning-the-well, a fallacy just like the primary “slippery slope/snowball” fallacy that is the heaviest opposition to the proposition: the idea that this is just going to lead to Utah getting recreational marijuana. Something the church is not wanting to handle because it will be a painful process.

I applaud the church on its ability to evolve their ethics, but I am concerned with what seems to be the oblivion or blatant disregard of this process to the members of the church. It is a major reason for why I left the church. The church has changed drastically from its beginnings which in my opinion is good for society but hurts the validity of the church. Years from now the church will avoid talking about marijuana if directly challenged about it; they will say they were never against the safe consumption of it by those in need or maybe even its use by anyone in moderation.

Years from now women may hold the priesthood and be allowed in the higher ranks of church leadership. The fact is though, that the church had a very bumpy beginning and that racism was a significant part of the church, the hatred of homosexuality was a major part of the church, sexism was a major part of the church, and there are some Large traces if not current manifestations of these qualities even in the contemporary church. The church justifies their progressive evolution by crediting it to revelation. Often saying things like “the world was not ready for blacks to have the priesthood” which feels like a comfortable and distant statement but horrified by the prospect of their great-grandchildren saying “the world was not ready to have gays marry in the temple”.

I remember having strict lessons against masturbation in Sunday school and watching general conference talks about it. In my mission, there was a meeting where the elders and sisters were separated, and the men were told not to masturbate, and the women talked about mental health struggles. I was continually questioned about masturbation by bishops and some stake presidents in my youth but have heard from some female friends that they did not have the same experience. And I have since heard from some members and leaders of the church that the church is not necessarily against masturbation but just pornography.

I do not want to burn the playhouse down, and I feel the church does a lot of good and amazing service, but the Yakuza also was lauded for its aid in Japanese disasters that was better and faster than the Japanese government.

A primary reason I do not agree with nor support the church anymore is that you are allowed personal “revelation” so long as it is not contrary to a man superior to you because their “revelation” comes more directly from God. From the patterns I see, their god seems to be a culmination of fear, social pressure, and scientific discovery. I cannot allow the writhing fear from the repercussions of the acquisition of new truth in public toward older generations dictate my moral standards, ethical decisions, and beliefs.

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