Lawsuit Threatened If Changes Made To Proposition 2 In Special Session

Nov 16, 2018, 7:56 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the final votes are still being counted from the Nov. 6 election, Proposition 2 seems sure to pass.

However, plans by lawmakers and the governor to hold a special session next month to adjust the medical marijuana initiative has some proponents threatening a lawsuit.

In the weeks leading up to the election, there was the compromise between the Utah Patients Coalition, which was leading the charge for Prop 2, and lobbyists for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who felt it went too far.

Two groups who said they represent patients, TRUCE and the Epilepsy Association of Utah, said not only were they left out of the discussions of the compromise, but they believe the Church’s influence is being unduly used call a special session of the Legislature and undermine what voters have already approved.

Their attorney, former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, sent a letter to lawmakers, putting them on notice to preserve their emails and text messages on Prop 2.

“What they’re proposing is not a compromise,” TRUCE President Christine Stenquist said. “It is a replacement bill. It is not just throwing out the baby with the bath water, it is replacing the baby with government with a dirty diaper. It is completely government-controlled.”

“The people of Utah, the voters of Utah, decided that Proposition 2 was what they wanted,” said Doug Rice, the president of the Utah Epilepsy Association. “Now we are the winning side of this vote, and we are having to bargain for what we won?”

Gov. Gary Herbert dismissed claims in his monthly news conference on Thursday that lobbyists are influencing a special session. He said it was his plan all along to ensure Utah had a good medical marijuana law.

“This is taking some corrective action over some of the flaws,” he said. “I am sure we will land in a good place, and in the end the majority of Utahns will say: ‘Thank you very much. That is good policy.”

Thursday afternoon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following written statement, by spokesman Doug Andersen.

“As members of the community, we have worked, from the outset, with medical professionals, law enforcement, educators and many other groups and prominent community leaders to seek the best for the people of Utah, to provide relief from human pain and suffering, especially where children are concerned. Broad community engagement was the reason a workable, beneficial and safer medical cannabis program was put together at the direction of state leadership. We stand behind and look forward to the safe, responsible and compassionate solution that will be considered by the state legislature.”

While nothing is officially scheduled, it is expected the governor will call the legislature into special session on Dec. 3.

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Lawsuit Threatened If Changes Made To Proposition 2 In Special Session