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Video Shows Canvasser Misleading Voter About Marijuana Initiative

Maynard James Keller
A still from the YouTube video taken by the woman who answered the door to the canvasser.

The Utah Medical Association denies it hired a canvasser who was recorded misleading a voter about a medical marijuana ballot initiative. The pro-medical marijuana group TRUCE posted a video on Monday that shows an unidentified canvasser at a woman’s doorstep, encouraging her to rescind her support for the initiative.

In the video, the canvasser says she represents the Utah Medical Association and claims UMA wrote a marijuana bill that the state somehow co-opted or changed.

Mark Fotheringham, a spokesman for the UMA, said he had no idea what the canvasser was talking about.

UMA launched a campaign last week called Drug Safe Utah, hiring canvassers and volunteers to knock on doors and try to convince people who signed the initiative to remove their signature.

“We doubt seriously that the video is one of our people," Fotheringham said. “I mean, she’s not using any of our arguments and is totally distorting what the Drug Safe Utah campaign is trying to do.”

UMA opposes the initiative. They say it opens up the door to recreational marijuana use.

“We feel like our arguments are strong enough to stand on their own and there’s really no need to make up the lies that are portrayed in the video,” Fotheringham said.

TRUCE organizers said the uninformed pitch shows the Utah Medical Association will stop at nothing to kill their initiative.

"The opposition has accused those who are pushing for this medical cannabis bill as being deceitful, saying this bill is something that it's not," said TRUCE Executive Director Christine Steinquist. "And in fact, the opposite is what we see happening. We see the opposition lying about what the bill is or isn't."

Utah legalized medical marijuana this year for terminally ill patients who have six months to live.

If voters approve the measure in November, it would expand that law, allowing Utahns to use marijuana for a number of other qualifying illnesses.  

The Lieutenant Governor still has to approve the signatures before it's placed on the ballot.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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