Utah Voters Support Legalization
SALT LAKE CITY – The Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah conducted a poll and found that 75 percent of those surveyed are supporters of some type of pot legalization. The poll also showed that 93 percent of Democrats are in favor of legalization with a surprising 65 percent of Republicans also for legalization.
Advocates from the Utah Patients Coalition have introduced a ballot initiative for 2018 that would permit medical marijuana for patients suffering from illnesses including autism, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, multiple sclerosis and cancer. At least 10 hearings for the public were held last summer by the coalition to bring awareness to the community.
Members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support legalizing medical marijuana by 63 percent according to utahpolicy.com. The high percentage of Mormons that support medical marijuana came as a surprise because the church has said that they are against the proposal.
Medical marijuana advocate Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, is against the ballot initiative because it would allow smoking medical marijuana. Daw says that “Smoking says recreational.” Daw is against legalizing recreational marijuana and is worried that the language of the initiative would bring the state closer to legalizing recreational marijuana.
Lawmakers are also concerned with federal laws and the current administration’s stance on marijuana, however, with so many people of Utah in support of medical marijuana, it is starting to look like if the initiative makes it on the ballot, medical marijuana could be on its way to becoming legal. Then again, a similar proposal failed in 2016, despite public support. Advocates are still optimistic that initiative will pass provided it makes the ballot. The coalition of 1000 have until April 15 to collect at least 113,000 signatures to make the ballot.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles