Saturday, February 4, 2023

Is Cannabis Gaining A Foothold With Mormons?

Utah is voting on medical marijuana this coming November and it’s creating a riff in the Mormon community. Proposition 2 is a bold move in the state whose capital is Salt Lake City, centered around Temple Square, the heartbeat of the Mormon church and the site of their majestic temple and tabernacle. In the Mormon faith, cannabis is yet frowned upon.

However, supporters of the proposition, some of whom are Mormon, argue that the benefits of the plant outweigh its legality stigma at this point. Children with epilepsy are being treated already and on another note, the opioid epidemic is raging in Utah. Cannabis has become known as an exit drug for opiates, which not only kill, but come with a slew of uncomfortable and damaging side effects, like constipation and lethargy.

Cannabis is a known analgesic and is also a soothing medicine that helps mitigate not only pain, but the obsessive thoughts that can come with it. Cannabis works on so many levels because of the myriad of cannabinoids that make up its medicinal properties and our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems which are always at the ready to receive them.

Though Mormon church heads stayed quiet on the issue of cannabis, at least publically, for a time, they recently made their views known, as in “just say no,” and backed up the stance with a memo from anti-cannabis doctors in the state, who are against the measure to legalize medical marijuana.

Those are the heads of church, though, and there must be a good many Mormons who believe in the benefits of the plant, while still believing in their religion. While over 60 percent of the state is Mormon, 66 percent of residents polled were in favor of legalizing pot for medicinal use. Though it is a drop from an earlier poll where 76 percent “somewhat or strongly supported the measure,” it’s still encouraging.

The numbers reflect another reality in Utah: while over 60 percent of the population identify as Mormon, that’s the extent of it for many. Not all who consider themselves members of The Church of Latter-day Saints are active practitioners and thus many have some less stringent opinions on matters like medicinal marijuana. Especially with the tide of the nation turning in that direction for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is helping children, the elderly and the infirmed.

The “Word of Wisdom” is the Mormon’s doctrine regarding health, and while it doesn’t mention cannabis specifically, it does warn off any illegal drugs. As weed remains illegal at the federal level and still at the state level in Utah, it is still not allowed for parishioners, but perhaps as laws change, proofs continue to emerge and the state possibly legalizes, the church will also loosen its stance.



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