Last Ditch Lawsuit Claims Utah’s MMJ Ballot Violates Mormons’ Religious Beliefs

A second lawsuit has been filed to block legalization by members of the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now filing their second lawsuit to block voters from legalizing medical cannabis, are attempting to prove that the ballot initiative, Proposition 2, violates their religious beliefs.

Proponents of the measure have called the lawsuit a “wacky attempt” to stop Utahns from voting on it this coming November.

The group leading the lawsuit say the MMJ legalization measure would violate the religious beliefs of one Walter J. Plumb, an attorney and active member of Mormon Church who also happens to be the primary financier of the ongoing obstructionist campaign.

The lawsuit takes issue with a provision in the ballot measure that would prevent landlords from not renting to MMJ cardholders, saying that Mormon property owners would be forced to rent to people who use cannabis.

According to the lawsuit, Plumb’s – and presumably the rest of the Mormons’ - “religious beliefs include a strict adherence to a code of health which precludes the consumption and possession of mind-altering drugs, substances and chemicals, which includes cannabis and its various derivatives.”

The group conveniently cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving a Colorado bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying it would go against his religious beliefs.

“In the United States of America, members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs,” the complaint reads. “This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant.”

Supporters of legalizing MMJ called the lawsuit a Hail Mary bent on derailing “the voters ability to vote on this important issue,” said DJ Schanz, campaign director of the Utah Patients Coalition.

“These groups should be ashamed of themselves for calling sick and afflicted patients morally ‘repugnant’ in their latest lawsuit,” said Schanz in a statement.

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Neon Joint
Neon Joint

This will be an interesting case to follow - the argument that religious freedom can be used as a protection against interaction with another set of beliefs has already raised concerns, particularly about how we view religious freedom in the US. And in this case, it does seem to be an arbitrary attempt to block the legalization effort. This would be a very dangerous precedent to set, especially with the number of patients who may be using medical and non-psychoactive cannabis products.

That the lawsuit characterized cannabis users as somehow offensive to the religion is a whole other issue to dive into....

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