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Mormon Church rejects medical marijuana initiative in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Mormon Church spoke out against a marijuana election initiative in Utah on Tuesday when opposition opposed the proposal to give people with certain medical conditions access to the pot.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement on Tuesday that medicines to alleviate suffering should first be tested and approved by officials. About two-thirds of Utah's residents are religious.

The church said it respected "the wise advice" of state doctors and referred to a statement by the Utah Medical Association earlier this month that accused supporters of only trying to pave the way for legalization of marijuana in the Pave free time.

"We commend the Utah Medical Association for their statement," the church said, warning that the proposed marijuana initiative in Utah would compromise the health and safety of Utah communities. "

The church attitude is not surprising. The religion in 2016 rejected a Utah proposal that would have allowed the use of edible pot products. The same year, they asked members in Arizona, California and Nevada to vote against proposals to legalize marijuana.

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The Utah-based religion teaches its 16 million members worldwide to avoid drugs and alcohol.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican and member of the religion, said last month he was against the initiative because it offers no guarantees of marijuana cultivation and distribution.

Proponents say that those living with chronic illnesses need access to the drug. The organizers say they already have the 113,000 verified signatures required by April 15 to vote in November.

They asked voters to approve a state-regulated marijuana cultivation and distribution measure so that people with certain illnesses can get a card and use the drug in edible forms such as sweets, in current forms such as lotions or balms as a drink Oil or in electronic cigarettes – but not for smoking.

The Utah Patients Coalition, which supports the initiative, released a statement on Tuesday from its medical advisor, Dr. Dan Cottam, who contradicts the idea that the Utah Medical Association speaks for all doctors.

Related: New Colorado Border City Marijuana Pharmacy Affects Utah Officials

Cottam said he was a member and was never consulted. The position of the association only reflects the opinion of the board.

"Far from relying on research or science, let alone the consensus of the doctors they want to represent, this is a position that does not speak for many doctors like me who are willing to use this medicine for to provide our patients. " Said Cottam. "The initiative will alleviate the suffering of hundreds of patients every year."

Utah's largely republican legislature has passed a few bits of medical marijuana law in recent years.

This includes a new law in the previous session that allows licensed farmers to grow medical marijuana for researchers and dying patients next year. The state passed a law in 2014 that allowed parents of children with severe epilepsy to use an oil called cannabidiol, or CBD, a derivative of cannabis, to care for their children.

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