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The LDS Church Hardens Stance Against Medical Marijuana Initiative

Lee Hale

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is doubling down on their opposition to a citizen-led initiative expanding access to medical marijuana. In a statement released Friday, a church spokesperson wrote that the initiative raises “grave concerns” and that “the negative effects of marijuana are well-known.”

Attached to the statement is a 31-point memorandum from a Salt Lake law firm, Kirton McKonkie, that was commissioned by the LDS Church. The document warns that this initiative could lead to Utahns growing their own marijuana, complicate illegal drug enforcement and allow access to minors.


The memorandum argues that the state is not ready to regulate medical marijuana and that any legal access could lead to rampant use.

While the church considers itself politically neutral, it will weigh in on hot button issues. The LDS Church encouraged all state residents to read the memorandum and make their own judgment.


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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