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Utah’s Medical Marijuana Opponents Still Trying to Block the People’s Will

Opponents began a misleading campaign where paid canvassers tried to get citizens to remove their petition signatures.

Medical marijuana opponents in Utah filed a last ditch emergency motion asking a judge to block the state’s MMJ proposal from getting on the ballot.

After Utah’s MMJ measure garnered well over the required number of signatures, opponents undertook a misleading and underhanded campaign in which paid canvassers tried to convince citizens to remove their signatures from the four MMJ initiatives.

In view of this latest lawsuit filed by opponents, the Utah Patients Coalition and supporters are preparing to square off in court, opening a new front in this contentious public battle.

The Coalition filed a challenge on Monday seeking to intervene in the lawsuit brought on by Drug Safe Utah, a political issue committee with the conservative Utah Eagle Forum, which identifies itself as the “a recognized leader for conservative principles.”

In the court papers, reported St. George News, supporters say they’ve spent significant time and money to place the ballot before voters in November and they intend to defend it from legal attacks.

“While our opponents want to debate in the courtroom with a single judge deciding the fate of medical cannabis, we look forward to an active debate in the court of public opinion where all Utahns can have a say,” said DJ Schanz, director of the Patients Coalition, in a statement.

As part of that public battle, Utah’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormons, recently published a list of perceived “legal issues” regarding the MMJ initiative. The Mormons hired the Kirton McConkie law firm to draft the memo, said to contain more fictions than facts.

The Libertas Institute, a libertarian advocacy organization with a history of promoting sensible medical cannabis policy in Utah, provided a thorough defense of the medical cannabis initiative in a point-by-point rebuttal to the memo and identifies a number of misleading statements and falsehoods.

“Much of the Kirton McConkie memo consists of familiar fear-tactics rather than substantive policy critiques,” noted the Utah Patients Coalition.

“Libertas also pointed out that the timing of the document’s release seems more motivated by an urgency to bolster the opposition’s signature removal campaign than a good faith effort to identify real policy issues.”

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