Strong Support For Medicinal Marijuana In Utah

Medicinal marijuana in Utah
Leaf image:  JonRichfield, CC BY-SA 3.0

A recent survey indicates overwhelming support for a medical cannabis ballot measure in the conservative U.S. state of Utah.

The survey of 402 Utahns carried out by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) indicates 73 percent of Utahns are in favour of a proposed statewide ballot measure that would enable doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment for serious illnesses. Only 20% were opposed to such a measure.

Utah is a Mormon stronghold – with over 2 million members in the state and representing the majority of Utah’s population. Last year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) issued an official position on medical cannabis, stating it was not opposed to the use of cannabidiol, but expressed concern about whole plant medicines and urged a cautious approach.

Backers of a ballot measure according the recent survey included 63% of active LDS voters, 87% of inactive LDS voters and 92% of non-LDS voters.

Support was strongest among the over 50’s, with 75% of voters indicating support.  Voters surveyed were were offered six arguments in favor of the measure and six against it.

Conceptual support for medical marijuana without a ballot measure was even stronger in the survey, with 79% (all respondents, all ages) approving the idea of doctors being able to recommend marijuana – and 51% see the approval of medical cannabis in the state as inevitable.

“Voters support medical marijuana in principle, and a broad and strong majority stands ready to express that support at the ballot box,” said FM3.

On the same day the survey results were released, Utah Patients Coalition launched its 2018 ballot initiative campaign in an effort to have a program established in the state.

“For the past several years we have advocated for a medical cannabis policy that allows patients to seek medical treatment without breaking the law, but the state legislature has refused,” said campaign spokesperson Christine Stenquist. “Now it is time for Utah voters to decide.”

The group has filed the ballot initiative with Utah’s lieutenant governor and is awaiting initial approval. Under the iniative, home cultivation and  smoking medical cannabis would not be permitted – a summary of the wording can be viewed here.