As the Mormon Church urges its members to vote against an upcoming medical marijuana initiative this November, someone came along and decided to use the church’s scripture to encourage people to vote for the initiative, known as Proposition 2.
That support came in the form of a huge new billboard placed on a busy off ramp of an Interstate highway.
The billboard quoted the Church’s “Word of Wisdom,” which is the Church of the Latter-day Saints’ health code that commands followers to abstain from tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.
Exactly who paid for the ad to use the Latter-day Saints’ scriptures against the church’s anti-MMJ stance is a mystery, says The Salt Lake Tribune. Due to a provision in an outdoor advertising law, the ad was removed temporarily for a day to review the law, but it was back up the next day.
The billboard reads: “All Wholesome Herbs God Hath Ordained for the … Use of Man. D&C 89:10,” referring a section found in the Word of Wisdom.
Then, in bold all-capitalized lettering: “VOTE YES PROP 2.”
While the church teaches that its founding prophet, Joseph Smith, received this health code through a revelation to implore people to avoid alcohol and tobacco, it does not specifically mention cannabis.
Groups supporting Prop 2 say they had nothing to do with the ad.
“Those billboards are not from our campaign,” said DJ Schanz, director of the Utah Patients Coalition, which put Prop 2 on the ballot and is leading the campaign for it. “We have not bought any billboards.”
Schanz said he was not discouraged or encouraged by an outsider jumping in with the ad to help pass Prop 2.
“People are extremely passionate about the issue,” he said, “and are willing to do whatever it takes to get Proposition 2 passed. Sometimes that means going off and doing their own thing.”